True Tall Tales of Stormalong, Joan Sandin

Today's vintage children's book is a folk tale, True Tall Tales of Stormalong: Sailor of the Seven Seas. The main character, Alfred Bulltop Stormalong (Stormy), had to deliver himself as a baby and was born with a full set of teeth. His crib was a whaleboat parked in the bay. "For a time sharks were his only playmates, and he swam and wrestled with them. He was always careful not to hurt them." You gotta love tall tales.

I really like the style of Joan Sandin's linocut illustrations, they are a perfect match for the story. I also like the variety in the color scheme. In contacting Joan for permission to show illustrations from the book, I asked her if she could share any information about the making of this book. Joan was very gracious in her reply and told me that this was her third book, her second with Prentice-Hall. It was supposed to be an illustrated book, not a picture book. But she was anxious to have a published picture book, so she did the layout to look like a picture book. The publisher liked it and she was allowed to use a second color, yellow. The book was printed in marine blue and yellow with green being created by screens of the two colors. In those days the color had to be pre-separated by the illustrator. No black was used in the book. She remembers being paid a flat fee with no royalties! The book was labor intensive, but she enjoyed it and it led to other work.

True Tall Tales of Stormalong: Sailor of the Seven Seas
By Harold W. Felton
Illustration by Joan Sandin
Prentice-Hall Inc., 1968

Joan was born in Watertown, Wisconsin. She and her family lived in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington and settled in Tuscan, Arizona. She grew up in Tuscan and graduated from the University of Arizona with a BFA in Art.  Joan lived in Stockholm, Sweden for 15 years, long enough to learn the language and write some children's books in Swedish. She now translates Swedish children's books into English. Joan is still very active - she illustrates, writes and translates books. She has worked on over 100 books. She also does school presentations for children in grades 1-5.

Some of Joan Sandin's Books:

At Home in a New Land
Coyote School News
The Long Way to a New Land
The Long Way Westward
Pioneer Bear
Hill of Fire
Small Wolf
Daniel's Duck
Snowshoe Thompson

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