Virtual Children's Books Exhibits


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Under The Sea


9.  Marta Voleská.
Artus Scheiner, illustrator.
Kulihrásek v hlubinách morskych [Kulihrásek in the Depths of the Sea].
Prague: Gustav Volesky, 1932.

The little boy swimming in the middle of a school of fish is Kulihrásek, the mischievous hero of over a dozen Czech picture books. If he looks nervous, it's probably because he’s noticed that next to him a very large fish is gulping down a smaller one. Although Kulihrásek is mostly concealed by fish, you can make out his webbed gloves and flippers. This special equipment was a gift from underwater friends, creatures look like monkeys with frog’s feet, who saved him from drowning.

During his adventures, Kulihrásek also steers clear of a huge jelly fish, receives a shock from an electric eel, and swims through dark, deep waters illuminated by the bioluminescent lures of strange fish. While this book makes no pretense of offering a scientific introduction to marine biology, it allows readers to see the ocean’s wonders without the encumbrance of diving gear.

This series of books was illustrated by Artus Scheiner (1863-1938), a prolific Bohemian artist, whose work was widely published in Czechoslovakia and Austria. Except for his illustrations for Božena Nemcová's The Disobedient Kids and other Czecho-Slovak Fairy Tales (1921), Scheiner's work is not well known in the English-speaking world.