Is what goes
Feb. 4, 2003
Happy Birthday, Russell Hoban!
Quotes from Russell Hoban's Children's Books
La Corona was the name of the beautiful lady in the picture on the inside of the cigar box lid. She wore a scarlet robe and a golden crown. Beyond her was a calm blue bay on which a paddle-wheel steamer floated. A locomotive trailed a faint plume of smoke across the pink and distant plain past shadowy palms and pyramids. Far off in the printed sky sailed a balloon.
But the lady never looked at any of those things. She sat among wheels and anvils, sheaves of wheat, hammers, toppled pedestals and garden urns, and she pointed to a globe that stood beside her while she looked steadfastly out past the left-hand side of the picture.
Inside the cigar box lived a tin frog, a seashell, a yellow cloth tape measure, and a magnifying glass. The tin frog was bright green and yellow, with two perfectly round eyes that were like yellow-and-black bullseyes. He had cost five shillings when new and hopped when wound up. He had fallen in love with La Corona, and he was wound up all the time because of it. He kept trying to hop into the picture with her, but he only bumped his nose against it and fell back into the box.
"I love you," he told her. But she said nothing, didn't even look at him.
"For heaven's sake!" said the tin frog. "Look at me, won't you? What do you expect to see out there beyond the left-hand side of the picture?"
"Perhaps a handsome prince," said La Corona.
"Maybe I'm a handsome prince," said the tin frog. "You know, an enchanted one."
"Not likely," said La Corona. "You're not even a very handsome frog."
from La Corona and the Tin Frog (1979)
The wind was howling, the sea was wild, and the night was black when the storm flung the sea-thing child up on the beach. In the morning the sky was fresh and clean, the beach was littered with seaweed, and there he lay--a little black heap of scales and feathers, all alone. All alone he was, and behind him the ocean roared and shook its fist. He lay there, howling not very loud, Ow, ow, ow! Ai-ee!" while the foam washed over him and went hissing away. He was too little to swim very well and he hadn't learned to fly yet. He was nothing but a little draggled heap of fright.
After a while, when the tide went out and the day grew warm, he crawled up on the beach, leaving a wide and messy track behind him in the smooth sand. He crawled up among the big old seaweed-bearded rocks by a tide-pool, and he went to sleep, cheeping softly to himself.
from The Sea-Thing Child (1972)