Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Busiest Boy in Holland, by Lisl Weil (1959)

It's Tulip Time in Holland. Holland, Michigan. What better week to share one of our favorite books from from our shelf of Americanized Dutch children's stories? (See previously: Kees) The Busiest Boy in Holland tells the story of Toontje, a boy from the Isle of Marken with a pet goldfish named Albert.

Toontje travels with his brothers to Amsterdam to help their Uncle Johannes on his tulip farm as he prepares for a big flower festival.

 I love this vision of an Amsterdam street:

After their work days end, the boys craft a secret float for the festival parade.

Soon, the time of the parade has come:

The boys' big surprise is. . .[prepare to be underwhelmed]

Not only is it just not all that impressive, it leaks:

Thankfully, this allows Toontje to portray the greatest hero in Dutch history, the little boy who stuck his finger in the dike:

The people cheer! Hooray, they cry! His goldfish will survive!