Purrkin the Talking Cat by Josef Lada. Hardcover book published by George G Harrap & Co 1966, 159 pages with black and white and colour illustrations.
So who was Josef Lada?
I know of him from two different sources. One is from a childrens book that my grandparents sent to my brothers when they were wee lads (...I wasn't there at the time). It's in German and has the most wonderful illustrations. There is a gift inscription from Oma and Opa... I still have the book and it is in a not very good state with the binding having deteriorated and many of the pages now being loose... but it has such wonderful illustrations, that I have kept it... and the illustrations are by Mr Lada. The other source of my Josef Lada knowledge is of course, The Good Soldier Svejk, for which Josef Lada did those highly distinctive and outstanding illustrations. You know the ones (click here)
As i've mentioned previously in this blog, I am a fan of The Good Soldier Svejk and having this interest in all things Svejkian (my Svejk beer stein is a prized possession), I couldn't help but spot this book sitting on a shelf full of what was basically rubbish. I'd never seen it before and I doubt I will ever see it again, so I did what any bookseller would or should do, I picked it up. Lovely. This is a childrens book and unlike the gift from Oma and Opa, this one is in English. Fortunately there are no loose pages, but it has seen the wars and by all appearances it has been loved and loved again.
It's a weird thing, but even as I was forking out the $ for this book all I could think of was that it was going to be a hard sell. Still, I couldn't say no and I think my grandparents would have appreciated my remembering their gift... It will look good on the shelf and will be a talking point, which is all good.