Monday, September 2, 2013
The Mighty Lalouche
I used to think my dream job would be a mail carrier (before the postal service became so in debt and embroiled in controversy). I would only want to have been the kind who gets to walk from house to house as they do in my mom's neighborhood. Knowing how much I love getting good mail, I think the job would have made me feel bubbly with the joy I delivered in the form of letters and packages.
That is how I imagine the French postman Lalouche must have felt about his work back in the late 1800s. When delivery vehicles took over for the walking postmen, he decided to try his luck at boxing. Low and behold, he was excellent against most opponents and became quite a success! "And yet stationery stores could make him sad, and envelopes, and, above all, stamps. He missed the cobbled streets of his old neighborhood and birthday parcels, and garret stairs, with all their twists and turns. In his heart, Lalouche was still a postman." He was mighty as well. This picture book is simply called The Mighty Lalouche.
In his author's note, Matthew Olshan explains some of the history behind the book. The note about Sophie Blackall's illustrations on this CIP page is also a good one: "The illustrations in this book were made with Chinese ink and watercolor on Arches hot press paper. They were cut out, arranged in layers, and photographed."
The lovely little object in the photograph is a postage stamp holder, displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.