The Lively Little Rabbit
The very first movie I ever saw in a theater was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I must have been six or seven when Disney released this classic animated feature. I remember getting all dressed up sitting in the dark, watching the Seven Dwarfs as they marched across the movie screen and humming along to “Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, it’s off to work we go…” I was delighted to learn that the illustrator of The Lively Little Rabbit (which was purchased last week at the St. Lawrence Antique Market along with The Lone Ranger) was the head illustrator in the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Keep reading…
First printed in 1943, The Lively Little Rabbit was written by Ariane (no surname) and illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren. The Lively Little Rabbit did not live up to its title; I found myself struggling to finish the story. It’s a long-winded story about a lively little rabbit and how he and his friends out witted a weasel. Disappointed with the story I reread it but this time I made up my own story using the illustrations, my version was much more lively and dramatic. On the plus side of a long story there is lots of illustrations to support the text (27 illustrations in total). Not all of the art was in colour, about half of them were done in black and white. The black and white illustrations look like they were done in charcoal while the colour illustrations look like they were rendered in tempera or watercolour. The colours are really basic and don’t have much value range to them. The compositions of the art were not effective; the art felt disjointed which broke the flow of the story for me. On the plus side there are lots of adorable little bunnies hopping about on these pages with soft brown coats and large round eyes. They remind me of Thumper, Bambi’s friend (no surprise there since Tenggren also worked on the production of Bambi). I think the purchase of The Lively Little Rabbit was more for sentimental reasons and perhaps the adrenalin rush of the deal, more than the story or the art.
The Lively Little Rabbit, a children’s book review by Thao Lam
I wasn’t able to find any information on Ariane. If anyone out there has any info, please share.
Illustrator Gustaf Tenggren
(November 3rd, 1896 to April 6, 1970)
Die-hard Disney fans will be familiar with Gustaf Tenggren’s work. During the Golden Age of American animation (the late 1930’s) Tenggren was the head illustrator at The Walt Disney Company. He played a major role in animated feature films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Bambi.
Born in Sweden on November 3rd 1896, Tenggren was raised in a large family of seven children (in which he was the second youngest). With such a large family to support Tenggren’s father immigrated to America to look for work and Tenggren was left in his grandfather care. It was a move that would shape Tenggren’s life for Tenggren’s grandfather was a painter and woodcarver. Recoginizing his grandson’s talents Tenggren’s grandfather encouraged him to pusuit the arts; Tenggren spent his childhood learning to paint and carve. He soon earned a scholarship to the Valand School of arts for painting in Gothenburg Sweden; there he received training in Scandinavian techniques of motifs and myths. Arthur Rackham and Kay Nielsen hugely influenced his work and like his mentors he was drawn to folklores and fairy tales. He soon found himself working on the popular Swedish folklore and fairy tales annual Bland Tomtar och Troll (Among Elves and Trolls) and the popular Swedish Christmas annual for kids.
In 1920, Tenggren left Sweden and move to Untied States, where he tackled the American children’s book market. As his popularity grew he branded himself and started creating books with his name as the title. He continued to illustrate until the age of 74, he passed away on April 6, 1970.
Fans are amazing check out this website dedicated to the memory of Gustaf Tenggren www.gustaftenggren.com
Publisher A Little Golden Book (1943)