Become a Fan

A growing number of people who love children's stories, nature writing and Americana are turning to Holling as a timeless teacher of geography, culture, history, and adventure. Become a fan and continue sharing the excitement!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Latter-day Romance of the North

Nipigon, Ontario, celebrated its centennial in July 2009, and about that time 3-year-old Treydon Turner-Brian carved (with his grandfather Joe Turner’s help) his own Paddle-to-the-Sea. Treydon’s family would be moving to Alberta shortly, and the boy wanted to be part of Nipigon’s history. He has become a part, and Paddler’s travels have become a latter-day romantic adventure.

On a stormy day in Pukaskwa National Park in November 2010, a kayaker saw Traydon’s Paddle-to-the-Sea bobbing by the mouth of the Willow River. He picked it up for a closer look. Somehow, Paddler had managed to travel more than 180km (112 miles) from Nipigon Bay to Pukaskwa.

After reading the message on the boat and showing Treydon’s Paddler to Parks Canada staff working at the Pukaskwa Tourism Information Centre, the kayaker decided to carry Paddle on to Wawa. At the outfitter where the kayaker rented his gear, a fellow adventurer, named Ed Hayworth, from New Zealand, noticed Paddler and took a liking to the little canoe. Ed decided to carry Paddler with him back to New Zealand, where he is now planning to release Paddle into the Pacific Ocean.

When Treydon helped to carve his Paddle-to-the-Sea canoe as part of Nipigon’s Centennial Celebrations, he must have hoped that it might someday reach the Atlantic Ocean. After an amazing journey, Treydon’s Paddler has gone much further than the original Paddle-to-the-Sea. The little canoe is about to be released into the salt waters of the South Pacific Ocean off of the coast of New Zealand.

A Mania for Collecting—with a Purpose

Collectors can be maniacal about gathering one of everything, but to a museum curator that’s a good thing. Joan Hoffman has kept me posted on a number of finds in her dedicated search of work that Holling — and his wife, Lucille — completed.

Regarding the Indian dancer postcard series, Joan writes that “a contact from Colorado…in the past sent me copies of mural pictures from the Ranch Restaurant in Chicago owned by his grandfather. His father scraped some of these Holling gems off the walls (they were on canvas) when the restaurant closed in the early 1950s. He now has a number of them in his home.” She points out a further discovery. “In October [2010] his father passed away and he found in his father's home a postcard of the bar section of the restaurant. Both he and I previously had seen the restaurant section but not the bar part on postcard.”

Holling was a commercial artist in addition to being one of America’s foremost illustrators and children’s book authors. Holling did many commercial things, particularly in the 1920s and 30s. For example, Joan has purchased a 1932 Holling ad for Packard that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post. “I don’t expect ever to see all of them,” she says, “and am amazed when one is found on Internet.”