Written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans. First edition, 1945. The Viking Press. New York.
"Across from Regensburg on the Danube is a small, remarkable island. Annually it disappears briefly under the not-blue waters of the river, and then reappears, its boundaries changed and strange objects washed ashore. Back to it then come the Fischers, Anton, his two old sisters, and Leni, their niece, who are the only inhabitants of the island. Once again they plant the seeds of the wonderful big white beer radishes which they sell to the beer garden in Regensburg.
"To the immense distress of the Oberassessor of Regensburg, the island has no legal existence. Various repulsive Regensburg citizens, flourishing under Nazi rule - in particular a Gauleiter and his crony, the official "poet" - resent the Fischers.
"Precipitated by an 'incident' in the beer garden, the story develops as a war between good and evil. Only Bemelmans could take such ingredients and weave a story that is tender and funny and gay and sad. No one else could have invented the bishop, wise friends of the Fischers, or the homesick French prisoner - or, most of all, the miracle, a veritable classic among miracles, which is the climax of the story.
"In good-natured Bemelmans fashion, it gives us hope for the remnants of German decency and Gemutlichkeit which we may be able to salvage, if we are wise, when the foul Nazi waters have receded."
Ludwig Bemelmans (1898-1962) was an Austrian-American writer and illustrator of children's books and adult novels. He is best known for creating the Madeline series, which began in 1939 and features a spirited French girl who lives in a convent school. Bemelmans also worked as a cartoonist, painter, and hotelier. He traveled extensively and drew inspiration from his experiences in Europe and America.
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Condition*: Very Good/Good. Dust jacket: Moderate shelf wear; corners bumped; rubbing along front fore edge and spine; chipped at head and tail of the spine; on the front, chipped at upper edge, small closed tear, lower left; on the back, small closed tear, lower edge. Red-embossed blue cloth boards: Light rubbing at head and tail of the spine; on the front, two small white marks; on the back, lower left corner bumped. Small pink scuff in top right corner of front fly leaf else pages are clean, complete, and undamaged.
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