Book of the Week: The Mellops

January 10, 2012

Have you ever heard of The Mellops? They are new to me and I’m pretty fascinated by them. The Mellops are a pig family with 4 good sons, named Felix, Isidor, Casimir, and Ferdinand. Just that is reason enough to love them. : ) Created by Tomi Ungerer in the fifties, three of the Mellops adventures have been reissued and they’re charming — with sometimes dangerous storylines —  in the way many vintage books are. (They’re also non-PC in the way many vintage books are. Hah!)

In The Mellops Strike Oil, the brothers learn all about digging for oil. Plus also, there’s a forest fire and their mom almost gets caught in it.

I think this one is my favorite. In The Mellops Go Diving for Treasure, the boys and their Dad go on a search for buried treasure. Spoiler: They find it! But they also have to use most of it for taxes and to pay for a sunken ship.

In Christmas Eve at the Mellops’, you’ll find out what happens when all four boys brings home Christmas Trees as the same time. It’s a sweet one! But so frank and different than many contemporary children’s stories. I think we’ll be adding it to our holiday book collection.

I tell you, I’m fascinated. I think I really like Mr. Ungerer’s story telling style. How about you? Are you already a Mellops fan? Do you have any vintage books that surprise you with their story lines?

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barchbo January 10, 2012 at 8:37 am

I have never heard of The Mellops! Birthday gift for my niece is now solved! I love vintage books – especially reissues that are all shiny and nice.

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2 MeGo January 10, 2012 at 9:26 am

Do you know the Noddy books? I think you’d like them, especially the original ones. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noddy_%28character%29

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3 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag January 10, 2012 at 10:34 am

@MeGo: I have the original Noddy books! They are FABULOUS!

@Gabrielle: I’ve heard of the The Mellops but I haven’t read them to Julia yet, I know exactly what you mean about the non-PC nature of vintage books, but really it adds to their charm! Some of them of are so darn funny in their absurdity and wild plotlines and out of date attitudes. I like those!

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4 Sarah January 10, 2012 at 11:21 am

“The Mellops Go Spelunking” was a favourite when my 4 kids were small. They loved the caves and the word “spelunking” was fascinating in and of itself!

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5 Christine January 10, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I think I’ll have to check these out and your other recommendations, I’m really eager and excited to start my 7 month old’s library. I want to fill it with so many books and hope he will treasure them ;)

I totally agree on the charm of vintage books and the non-PC language. Although I am relieved we have evolved so much in such a short space of time and are more embracing and tolerant of all people.

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6 nike January 10, 2012 at 11:52 pm

I just love Tommy Ungerer! Do you know “Crictor the good snake“? Fun for little ones!

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7 EB Black January 11, 2012 at 6:40 am

Ungerer’s The Three Robbers is equally delightful. Well, as delightful as highwaymen collecting unwanted children can be. The old Weston Woods filmstrip version is great too.

And Crictor is v. fun too (and takes place in a little French village).

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8 Rebecca January 11, 2012 at 7:14 am

Mother, Mother I Want Anoter by Maria Polushkin Robbins (The 1978 version) is one of my favorites!

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9 Corrie Anne January 11, 2012 at 9:22 am

Pigs!! Gotta love the vintage non-pc!! :)

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10 Jayne January 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm

In some ways the more tame children’s stories of today are less interesting and less clear for child brains than the old ones. At young ages children are often looking for black and white at the picture book stage – hence fairy tales and stories of good and evil. Moderating some gender roles and teaching kindness is great, and a good part of a wee library. But really, one can moderate the real meaning out of a story trying to make too bland to upset anyone. I love Don and Audrey Wood’s Heckedy Peg for sweet messages and clear good and evil.

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11 Anneliese January 11, 2012 at 5:44 pm

They sound a bit familiar but I’m not sure… I can’t wait to check them out. Thanks!

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