(Visit their tumblr blog here).
Call me Runcible. That is what my master calls me—and that is what Taka-chan called me from the time we first met.
I want to tell you about Taka-chan, how I found her on the other side of the earth. It is a strange story, almost like a dream, but who is to say what is a dream and what is real?
This might come as a surprise, but Taka-chan and I is was the first book we’ve published that was written by a dog. A Weimaraner named Runcible. And how did Runcible’s “master” come to call him by this strange name? A little knowledge of nonsense tell you that “runcible” (often “runcible spoon”) is a coinage of Edward Lear’s. In a recent post at vocabulary.com on words invented or popularized by children’s books, Ben Zimmer explains:
What is [the runcible spoon]? Some have suggested Lear made it up to sound like rouncival, an obsolete word meaning “gigantic, robust.” He later illustrated the runcible spoon as having a large round bowl (big enough for a “dolomphious duck” to catch a spotted frog in), but by the 1920s some had interpreted it to refer to a spoon-fork hybrid, much like the modern spork.
Another Taka-chan and I post to celebrate its publication day. This time a spread, combining the photography of Eikoh Hosoe and the words of Betty Jean Lifton. The prior post showed Taka-chan and Runcible meeting for the first time on the beach, and now, after getting lost in Tokyo (who can blame them?), they’ve found each other and are close to completing the sea dragon’s task.
It’s pub day for Taka-chan and I! Taka-chan is the story of a dog, Runcible, who somehow digs his way from a beach in Cape Cod to the coast of Japan. There he meets Taka-chan, a young girl imprisoned by a sea dragon because her father and the the other fishermen no longer give proper respect and rice balls to sea dragons. Runcible, ever a loyal Weimaraner, decides that we will help Taka-chan complete the sea dragon’s task and gain her freedom. Betty Jean Lifton, who wrote the text, and Eikoh Hosoe, a renowned Japanese photographer, worked together to create this wonderful children’s book (originally published in 1967), and we wanted to share the above image from the meeting of Runcible and Taka-chan.
As an adult, I have always loved children’s books. Before I had kids, I used to position myself close to other people’s children in bookstores as I indulged my picture book habit. The idea was to give the appearance that I was somehow connected to someone else’s unsuspecting child and therefore ‘vetted’ as a children’s book browser … Finally, a few years later, with my own children in tow, I could freely enter the children’s section at my local bookstore without any fear of my true motives being discovered.
At Monsters and Madonnas, the blog of International Center of Photography Library, Russet Lederman offers a “highly personal” selection of photo-stories, including the forthcoming Taka-chan and I (Betty Jean Lifton and Eikoh Hosoe).