Thursday, November 13, 2008

"What were you before you were a wizard?"

I recently came across this book in the family collection that I absolutely loved as a kid. It was published in 1967 but seems very current, kind of along these lines in a weird psychedelic sorcerous magic sort of way. Here's a small selection of spreads – it's worth clicking-to-enlarge so you can see the illustrations close up and read the text.

I found a bit of info on the author. According to The New York Times, Philip Ressner (1922–2006) authored half a dozen successful children's books, starting in 1965 with August Explains, "the tale of a wise old bear who is very good at magic." Ressner was originally from Brooklyn and went to Brooklyn College and the University of Wyoming. Before his career as a writer and editor, he served in the Army in Europe in World War II, and worked as a New York City subway motorman while attending New York University. He would later work at Scientific American. In the 1980's, Ressner worked for the Metro-North Railroad as writer-editor of Mileposts, a monthly newsletter for commuters. Seems like an interesting dude.


Lee said...

if you're itchin' to take that collection, you'll have to fight Sky for it...and practice to get the voices right of ALL the characters!

Simon Ressner said...

I somehow lost your e-mail but got a kick out of this post. My father was quite a character and we all miss him alot. This was one of our favorites. When you come to NYC drop by and I'll be happy to show you his other books. Please send me your email
Simon Ressner

Augiedog said...

I too am a child of the late Phil Ressner and I echo the sentiment. His writing, as many times as he was published (6 childrens' books and pieces in Free to be, You and me),was never truly recognized for the talent he was. In addition, he was a great father and a lovable kook. It's so nice to see people acknowledge his work-especially out of the blue.
Thank you.