New York City Diary

Words and pictures from my interesting life in New York.

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ilse Igel, Then and Now

In the mid 1970's, when my sister and I were little, my parents took us on a trip to Germany. To keep us occupied on the long drives between mountains and castles, we stopped by a bookstore and my mom bought us a bunch of tiny children's books.

One of the books was called Ilse Igel, and it was about a hedgehog helicopter pilot that did favors for people. Little Susi, for example, was afraid that it would rain on her birthday party, so Ilse flew up to the rainclouds and lassoed them out of the way. Young Philipp, meanwhile, wanted to help Frau Potthoff wash the upper-floor windows on her apartment building, so Ilse flew to the top and cleaned the windows with a mop. And Peter Maus, a police mouse, needed Ilse's help to stop a thief who was making off with a million Deutsche marks from the local bank. Isle used a cable and winch to remove the only bridge out of town, causing the robber to plunge into the water in his yellow car with red polka dots.

Now that we have Zachary, who is two years old, my mom found these old books and gave them to me. They've quickly become some of Zachary's favorite books to read on the subway to and from school. No, he doesn't read German, nor do I, though the plot is easy enough to figure out and there are plenty of cognates. But he still loves flipping through these cute little comics, and gets a big thrill when the robber drives into the water and he can say "splash!"

Ilse Igel was written and illustrated by Jørgen Clevin and first published in 1972. It is a Pixi book.