The Funny Thing

This is the story of the mysterious “aminal” dragon that eats dolls. Kindly old Bobo will not stand by and allow the Funny Thing to devour the dolls of good children. He appeals to the dragon’s vanity and convinces the “aminal” to eat tail growing, blue point enhancing “jum-jills”. Bobo whips them up in his basement kitchen from a recipe that includes seven nut cakes, five seed puddings, two cabbage salads, and fifteen little cheeses, all rolled into little balls.The Funny Thing loves jum-jills and it returns each day for the treats. The more the “aminal” eats the longer it’s tale gets. The Funny Thing’s tail gets so long that it wraps around one of the mountains where Bobo lives and then the dragon’s doll eating days are done.



 

The Funny Thing” by Wanda Gag.
Adapted by Ann-Marie Riederer Greenberg.
Voices by Georgia and August Greenberg.
Music by Mark Greenberg.

 

Wanda Gag was born March 11, 1893 in New Ulm, Minnesota. Her parents, Elisabeth Biebl Gag and Anton Gag, were artists and photographers of German and Bohemian descent. Her father died when she was 15 leaving her to support her ailing mother and six younger siblings. The Gag family was near destitute, but Wanda managed to graduate and get a job teaching in a country school. Despite the odds she enrolled in The Saint Paul School of Art in 1913. The next year the publisher of the Minneapolis Journal, Herschel V. Jones sponsored her studies at the Minneapolis Art School. In 1917 she was awarded a scholarship from the Art Students League and moved to New York. After several years as a fashion illustrator, a successful 1926 exhibition in Manhattan led to a commission for a children’s book. Published by Coward McCann in 1928, Millions of Cats is considered the first modern picture book. Gag’s use of double-page spreads and hand-lettered text had never been seen before. The book won her a Newberry Honor and international acclaim as a children’s book author. In 1931 Wanda packed up and moved to a farm in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. She built a small studio and devoted herself to drawing, wood engravings and lithography. Her work was recognized nationally and can still be found in the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institute and the National Gallery of Art. In 1933 Wanda received another Newbery Honors for The ABC Bunny. Her books Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Nothing at All won Caldecott Honors. In 1940 Wanda’s diaries covering the years 1908 to 1917 were published in a book called Growing Pains. The diary contains some wonderful descriptions of the Twin Cities from the time she spent in art school here, including a trolley ride out to Lake Minnetonka. Wanda Gag died 1946. Her ashes were scattered along the path to her studio.