Monday, October 20, 2014

Scholastic Fest: #7, A Chimp in the Family

  • Title: A Chimp in the Family
  • Author: Charlotte Becker (1907-1984)
  • Illustrator: Seymour Fleishman (1918-2012)
  • Publisher: Scholastic Book Services
  • Year: Eighth printing, September 1968
  • Excerpt:
    "Mr. Davis was walking up and down his pet store with a baby chimpanzee in his arms. He was trying to figure out what to do with the little ape.

    "That morning a sailor had sold Maggie to him. She came from the warm forests of faraway Africa. Sooner or later a circus or zoo or someone who liked unusual pets would buy Maggie. But, until then, the store was no place for her."1
  • Notes: And now for some monkey business. ... Charlotte Becker was a tough nut to crack when it came to Internet sleuthing. It turns out, as far as I can figure, that she was more well known as an artist and illustrator than as an author. According to, she was born in 1907 in Dresden, Germany. At some point she married and became Charlotte Becker Cox. She "painted over a thousand magazine covers, art calendars and art prints, all of children." ... A Chimp in the Family was first published in 1953 by Julian Messner Inc. and, according to, Becker did her own illustrations for that first edition. ... The illustrator of this Scholastic edition, Seymour Fleishman, was well-remembered in his 2012 obituary in the Chicago Sun-Times, written by Maureen O'Donnell, whose lede states: "Seymour Fleishman’s books beckoned children to come inside and stay a while." Fleishman was a U.S. Army veteran, a newspaper and magazine artist, and the artist for about 80 children's books, the most famous of which might be Gus Was A Friendly Ghost. Fleishman had a parakeet named Piccolo in his studio. ... Finally, this edition of A Chimp in the Family comes with an inscription from one of its former owners, Linda Kay Linthurst, who wrote the following in careful, grade-school cursive: "I read it and it was very good about Peg, Tom, and Maggie."

1. I hope current and future generations find the concepts of kidnapping and selling animals and sending them off to "life" in circuses and zoos as horrible as I do. Upon further review, I should not have ranked this book as highly as I did.

No comments:

Post a Comment