Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily, by Dino Buzzati. Translated by Frances Lobb. Illustrated by the author.
NYC, Pantheon Books, October 1947, hardcover $2.75 (146 [+1] pages).
The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily, by Dino Buzzati. Translated by Francis Lobb. Illustrated by the author.
NYC, New York Review Children’s Collection, December 2003, hardcover $18.95 (147 pages).
The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily, by Dino Buzzati. Translated by Francis Lobb. With an introduction and reader’s companion by Lemony Snickett. Illustrated by the author.
NYC, HarperCollinsPublishers/Harper Trophy, February 2005, paperback $5.99 (186 pages).
This is a book that I never expected to review. It was one of the first library books that I read, from the Los Angeles Public Library, presumably when I was seven years old since the American edition was published at the end of 1947. I loved it! I read and reread it, and memorized several poems in it. I still remember this, after almost seventy years:
One, two, three, four
These dark thoughts soar
Fear, sorrow, doubt, despair
Hover in the midnight air.
I eventually grew up and forgot about it. I was reminded of it this January when Jim Korkis mentioned in his column on animation history that Heinz Edelmann, the art designer of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine animated feature (1968), had later seriously tried to produce an animated feature of The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily, but had failed to get financial backing for it.
This led me to see whether Wikipedia had any mention of the book. It does, but the Wikipedia article just says that it was a famous Italian children’s book, La Famosa Invasione degli Orsi in Sicilia, published by Rizzoli in 1945, and “The American hardcover edition was published by HarperCollins in 2003 and the paperback was published in 2005, also by HarperCollins and The New York Review Children’s Collection.” Not only is that slightly inaccurate, there is no mention of the 1947 American edition that I read! This seems unfair to me, and since the LAPL still has that 1947 edition, here is my review of it.
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