A Polish children’s book from the 1930s is reissued in English for 21st-century readers.
Backmatter explains that author Tuwim was “asked to write three poems for children,” and the publisher, Przeworski, put them into a single book with illustrations by LeWitt and Him under the title Lokomotywa. The three poems are presented as separate stories: “Locomotive,” about a train and its cargo; “The Turnip,” a cumulative story about a farmer and a succession of characters who try to help him pull an enormous turnip from the ground, which some readers may recognize as the familiar Russian tale; and “The Birds' Radio” (here retitled “The Birds’ Broadcast”), about a group of quarrelsome birds’ “chirping, warbling and squawking.” While the text is rather long, and it seems that much of the poetic achievement is lost in translation, the bright lithographs present an eye-catching book that will likely be of interest to scholars and others interested in early- to mid-20th-century picture-book art. The influence of post-revolutionary Russian children’s book art is especially apparent.
While there is some child appeal, particularly in the second story, this title is likely to be of most interest to historians and scholars of the picture book. (Picture book. 5-adult)