In a recent article, ejwinner wrote: ” If I build a gold-fish bowl, I’m not likely to find any whales in it.”

This reminded me of a book I have (5 Buben + 5 Elephanten). The original is called “Zahrada”, by the wonderfull Czech artist, illustrator and, first of all, puppet animation film maker Jiri Trnka. One of the characters of the book is a whale (“velryba” in the Czech language) who likes to read. That whale started his life in a gold-fish bowl.

I could not find the original picture from the book with the whale in the fish bowl on the internet, but there is an animation film (I think it is drawn by another artist, although Trnka is mentioned in the lead text) showing the history of the whale in the story (and that of the lawn gnome that also appears in the book). This film contains the story of the garden in the book.

You see that story of the whale in the initial part of the film. If you google for “Zahrada” and “Trnka”, you will find some of the pictures from the book. It looks like there are more animation films, a theater version, and other stuff around this story (including an electronic “Kybernetoscope”). It seems to be rather prominent in Czechia’s children’s culture. Well, of course, it is Trnka!

My grandfather was a graphics artist living in East Germany. He had access to the wonderful books the Czech publisher Artia produced and as a result, we have a number of those books, some by Trnka, some by other artists, including this one.

Indeed, it is unlikely to find a whale in a gold-fish-bowl, except in Czech books and films.


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