Today’s Flickr Friday is the piéce de résistance of all the vintage kiddie books that I’ve been blabbing about in the last few months. Originally published by Wonder Books in 1962, Faith McNulty’s Arty The Smarty was far and away the favorite book of mine as a child. When I recently came across my own childhood copy of this little treasure, it all came back to me as to why this particular book was so beloved. It was about a resourceful fish whose very difference from the other fishes made him special. It came as a shock, how much it resonated with me (and I have to wonder if there were any other gay/lesbian people who cherished this story as I did). Also, the snappy, clean illustrations by Albert Aquino were a revelation – exactly the style of illustration that I’m attempting to do to this day! I still don’t know much about Mr. Aquino and his career, but I really have to shake his hand for doing such great work on this book.
Some of the pages of Arty The Smarty are included below (note my name scrawled on the endpapers!), in addition to a few others I’ve placed in my Childhood Books, ’60s-’70s Flickr set.