Rather forgeta-bull

A curiosity today.  This.

Cover for The Vegetabull book Lewitt Him

It’s a 1955 childrens book by Jan Lewitt, one half of the brilliant Lewitt-Him graphic design partnership.

It’s not, I have to say, a great book, but makes it in here mostly because it is clearly a spin-off from one of my favourite posters, a Lewitt-Him design from 1943.

Lewitt Him Vegetabull vintage WW2 ministry of food poster

I’m rather tickled by the fact that Jan Lewitt liked the idea so much that ten years later he decided to give the image an entire backstory, rather like an author being forced to write a sequel because he’s created characters who just won’t leave him alone.

Jan Lewitt vegetabull book illustration 1

It’s just a shame that the plot (which involves far away islands, mandolin trees and a bull called Yorick) isn’t a bit more gripping.

Jan Lewitt vegetabull book illustration two fish

Although the illustrations are rather wonderful, in a grown-up kind of way.

Vegetabull book illustration Jan Lewitt sailors with telescopes

Should you fancy your own copy, it’s pretty widely available on the second hand book web, at prices ranging from £10 – £100.  You choose.

Two other incidental facts while I am here.  Lewitt-Him also did a couple of other children’s books as a partnership.  One is The Little Red Train, written by Diana Ross (not that one, I don’t think)

Little Red Engine Lewitt Him cover

which you can find here (via Martin Klasch).  Both the story and illustrations are better if you ask me,

Lewitt-Him Little Red Engine illustration

to the extent that I might consider reading it to a real life small child.

There’s also Locomotive, The Turnip and The Birds’ Broadcast, which I’ve never seen but a very nice man has posted the complete set of images on Flickr, so you can take a view for yourself.  My view is that it looks like the most delightful of the lot.  It is, however, as rare as hen’s teeth and proportionately expensive, so I may never get to find out.

Lewitt-Him loco book image

And finally, the Vegetabull poster wasn’t the only poster that Lewitt-Him did in this style.  I wanted to post one of the others simply because I never see it anywhere else.  So here it is.

Lewitt-Him Vitamin overcooking WW2 vintage poster ministry of food

  • Hello, just researching a George Him shop display I am going to post on my blog and found your post. Lovely images. Very nice blog, too.

  • Thanks for that – and do let me know when your George Him post comes up as your blog looks very fine too (I will add you to the links page when I get a minute).

  • Thanks for the kind comments. I’m sorting out my links now, as WordPress is proving so much more flexible, so will certainly add in yours.

  • That’s really lovely too – and I know what you mean about the scanning. I couldn’t do any of the double page spreads from the Vegetabull as it would have broken the spine!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.