Holling Clancy Holling “was best known for his geo-historical-fiction volumes for children, believed that children’s literature should be both entertaining and instructive and therefore filled his adventuresome tales with well-researched historical and scientific data.” Who was this writer, artist and naturalist who remains popular sixty years after his books were published? Holling Clancy Holling was a giant of children’s literature who will long be remembered by children of ALL ages.
It may be worth repeating that Holling’s name was the first thing that captured me as a child reader. Who on earth has the same first name as his surname? Further, Holling Clancy Holling has the strange beauty of a harsh Irish name bookended by two action words, or gerunds.
Will Holling’s books someday be looked at as a memory of nature in the past tense? And can he still serve as the voice of conservation of a land that holds so much wonder and meaning? We hope so.
First sold in 1908, Kitchen Klenzer is an example of an early packaged product whose illustrated label, in attempting to depict the product “in use,” wound up creating a recursive “Droste Effect.” (Named after Droste cocoa, which was packaged in a similarly recursive illustrated container.) It was sold largely through newspaper advertising, and here is where Holling’s Circus promoted the product.
Joan sent me a note recently, saying, “Thanks for steering this lady to us. I put together the Kitchen Klenzer Circus elephant and camel this week and they now reside in the museum. She had the camel, zebra, and lion cutouts. Although she didn't have the elephant, for some reason there were two elephant blankets in the estate package she bought. She also had the display box. She walked in to the museum a week ago Thursday and gave it all to us. It was unbelievable.”
Little stories like this, where pieces of paper and advertising ephemera find a permanent home, make me happy. Small events can make a difference.