I worked for five years as a Library Technician in the children's room at the Santa Ana Public Library. I loved it there. One of the many benefits was being able to snag old books that were being discarded, and I ended up with some real treasures.
One of those treasures is a book called The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan
by James Morier, "with a profusion of pictures" by Cyrus LeRoy Baldridge. (I love that phrasing) The book was published in 1937 by Random House, Inc. (The copyright date was printed in Roman numerals and I had to look up a guide on translating them because I've totally forgotten. D'oh!)
Check out the fugly cover, but don't let it fool you into thinking there's nothing good inside:
|Purple paisley? It's in a lumpy plastic slip-case, too, with the barcode slapped rudely on the front. Gross.|
But inside it's full of adventure, magic, and romance from the Middle East. Also lots of sexism and violence. One of the short stories is called, "The Tale of the Baked Head." It's labeled "YA," and at first I thought they were just being prude about it, when really it should have been in the children's room. But after going through it, I decided that yeah, it's on the mature side.
There are many beautiful line illustrations in black and white, such as this rather alarming and unexpected one:
|I will leave the interpretation of this image up to you.|
There were about fifteen full-color plates originally, but one was ripped sadly in half, and several others were missing entirely. The ones that are left, though, are beautiful, and really captured my attention because of the rich colors and the sometimes bizarre images and captions.
|"Doctor, mashallah! you have good taste! The animal is fine!"|
Pssst... check out the HUMAN HEAD floating in the water:
|"More screams and cries ensued"|
|"Your eyes have made roast meat of my heart"|
|"What bliss is like to whisp'ring love?"|
|"The cat must come from under the blanket"|