Hallowe’en Countdown VI, Day 18

« Why does a silly bird go on saying “chiff-chaff” all day long? Is it happiness or hiccups? » — A. A. Milne

Greetings! I am very temporarily standing in for co-admin RG, who can probably use a break from his harrowing post-a-day schedule. Either that, or I muscled my way in after chaining him to the bathtub, your pick.

We have never talked about the adorable cartoonist Jack Kent (1920-1985) on WOT?. While he has illustrated some 40 children’s books, no humble achievement, his momentous oeuvre is surely the endearing King Aroo (from that intriguing class of literary creations ‘adored by the intelligentsia, but [that] bomb in popularity polls’*). Often our most cherished comics are considerably harder to discuss than something one holds less dear, and this is a prime example of that. Among worries of ‘would I able to do it justice? Would I be able to explain its charm?’, I have been postponing the conversation about King Aroo, Monarch of pocket-sized kingdom Myopia, to an indefinite, much later date.

In the meantime, and since it is very much of the season, let us concentrate on the short, but no less lovable for its length, Cindy Lou and the Witch’s Dog, a children’s book (well, nearly more of a booklet) from 1978. Aside from the presence of a witch in the tale (as announced by the title), it also features hiccupping as a main plot point, a state of things close to my heart as I am quite prone to this affliction, though I fortunately do not undergo metamorphosis with each involuntary contraction of the diagram. Here’s a factoid of the day: the medical name for hiccup is singultus, from the Latin singult which means ‘to catch one’s breath while sobbing’. My grandmother always thought there was something profoundly wrong with me with all these hiccups… but then she was also convinced I’d grow up to be an alcoholic from sharing an occasional beer with my dad, so perhaps her forebodings can be dismissed.

Enjoy the following few pages (probably about a third of the story, so definitely more than just a sample).

Regretfully, we do not get to see what party the witch goes to.

Of course Prince’s collar magically adjusts to his neck, whether it’s the neck of a giraffe or that of a mouse.

Skipping a few pages to share this tree’o’cats, which neither RG nor myself could resist including:

~ ds

* Source

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