The Man Who Lost His Headby Claire Huchet Bishop (Author), Robert McCloskey (Illustrator)
In 2003, the New York Review of Children’s Collection started publishing children’s books “in an attempt to reward readers who long wished for the return of their favorite titles and to introduce those books to a new generation of readers”. The NYR books publishes books for pre-schoolers through to chapter books and novels for older children.
“The Man Who Lost His Head” is a New York Review Children’s picture book, written by author Bishop known for her books like “The Five Chinese Brothers” or “Pancakes-Paris” and illustrated by Robert McCloskey, best known for his books “Blueberries for Sal” and “Make way for Ducklings”.
This is a story about a man who wakes up one morning and finds that he has lost his most agreeable and handsome head! Literally! Frantically, the man “looks” for it everywhere!
But it was not to be found anywhere! So he tries really hard to remember.. but that was hard to do without his head! Fortunately, his hands and legs remind him of the pig that he had taken to the fair to be sold yesterday. So the man who lost his head decides to go back to the fair and look for his head there.
But, he couldn’t possibly go out without a head, can he? So he decides to make a new one!
But no matter what he tries on, the “new” head was just not right! Finally, he settles in for a head carved out of wood. It wasn’t like his head from before, but it would have to do.
As he walks through the village, the people greet him pleasantly. The man who lost his head thinks that this new head might not be so bad after all. Finally, he reaches the fair and wonders “where shall I look for my head?”
It turns out that a young chap who knows no discipline saves the day before the man who lost his head loses it forever! How? Read this book to find out
This is a delightful story, with just the right amount of “craziness” going on! Entertaining, yet bizarre, the story about the man who lost his head is fresh and exciting right from page one. Bishop’s story telling is masterful, funny and amusing.
What makes this book special is McCloskey’s exquisite graphic pen and ink art work. Each page has detailed black and white illustrations with graphite and brush shadings to give it a realistic look. This striking contrast of colors and texture adds to the book’s quirkiness. The details on the artwork are pretty amazing! One can spend a great deal of time just enjoying this little book for its art work.
First published in 1940, this book is still accessible to children and adults today. We loved turning the pages to find out how this story would end!