Ed Emberley won the 1968 Caldecott Medal for his bold illustrations for Barbara Emberley's jaunty adaptation of the cumulative folk song about seven soldiers who build a magnificent cannon and Drummer Hoff, who fires it off.
Throughout this tale, Drummer Hoff (who fired it off) and his fellow bespangled soldiers, officers, corporals, etc. construct, before our eyes, a canon. As the verses continue we see each member of the company adding his own touch to the proceedings. For example, Corporal Farrell brings the barrel. Major Scott brings the shot. You get the idea. This all culminates with General Border who, in the end, gives the order and Drummer Hoff (finally abandoning his baton) fires it off. Suddenly the world is engulfed in blood red smoke, Hoff knocked slightly to one side, the extravagantly illustrated word, "KAHBAHBLOOOM" appearing. In our final scene the canon sits there, abandoned by the men. Baby birds grow in its mouth. The name of the canon (Sultan) has been buried and we now only see a smiling sun on its side. Grasshoppers frolic, a spider spins its web, and flowers are everywhere. Make of it what you will
So let's look at it again. The words are very much like an old English series of verses. They could be 40 years old or 400. Now look at the illustrations. I think I'm truthful in saying that I have never read a children's book that looked like this.Read more ›