Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Kangaroo and the Elephant

The next two images for the Delacorte series were the Kangaroo with her kid playing the horns and the Elephant with Accordion.  When I was a child, I had a powerful desire to ride in a kangaroo pouch. This was, undoubtedly, spurred by the movie "Dot and the Kangaroo", where one of the songs is called "Riding in the Pouch of a Red Kangaroo".  This little kid seems so contented to be carried by his mother and joins in the music-making. 

"Kangaroo and Kid with Horns" Pencil. Copyright 2011 Jessica Boehman

The Elephant drawing immediately followed the "Walking the Dog" drawing seen below, so it was at once familiar and unusual.  Having just realized a very elephantine elephant, it seemed a bit strange to make one more human, playing the accordion.  Both the animal and his instrument remind me of moving to northern Germany.  My memories of this time are childlike, as we moved there five days after my tenth birthday, and are generally colored grey in my mind, likely due to the cool, cloudy weather that predominated there.  Our first house was in a German neighborhood, not within the large American complexes where many of my friends lived.  We lived a short walk away from a beautiful, sprawling forest park where we spent hours upon hours riding our bikes and pretending to be Robin Hood.  We also were a short walk from the cobblestoned downtown area with its tiny shops.  Of particular interest to a ten year-old child were the bakery that served these delicious, swirled meringue-type cookies, and the toystore.  German toystores were a thing of wonder (even if we weren't very welcome there as part of the army of Americans in town). Filled with puzzles and detailed plastic figures and trains and stuffed animals, we spent many hours gazing, wishing and making Christmas lists.  Since we arrived near Thanksgiving, I knew I had a good chance of getting my favorite toy in the shop for Christmas.  It was a blue baby elephant stuffed toy, whose fur was so soft and cuddly. I fell in love with him and couldn't bear the thought of a month of waiting to see if he would be mine.  On Christmas morning, when I found him waiting for me under the tree, I was the happiest a child could have been on that day.  It's still one of my all-time favorite gifts.  The accordion also reminds me of Germany, and not for stereotypical reasons.    After we had moved to our second house, there was this old German man who would come door-to-door with his accordion.  He would play without ringing the bell until we answered the door.  When offered money, he would always decline, asking instead for a Coke.  I always wanted to write to the Coca-Cola company with this idea for a commercial.  So as it is, that elephant with accordion must have been made just for me.  That's how I see him, in any case.

"Elephant with Accordion" Pencil. Copyright 2011 Jessica Boehman


  1. i'm enjoying your stories! if you weren't such a good artist, i would tell you you missed your calling! :) and it's nice to hear stories that coincide on some points with mine, like a venn diagram. it means my past did actually happen, because there were witnesses! i'm glad i got to know you when we were both imaginative children. :)

  2. You were there...and you were a great part of it!