Runaway Marie Louise

Today I read a book to my kid called Gregory the Terrible Eater. I didn’t particularly like the book but the drawings seemed awfully familiar. It was a longish book and gave me a fair amount of time to realize that I must have had a book by the same illustrator as a kid.

Some hours later and I figure I’ll google the illustrator, Jose Aruego. Not much turns up. Wikipedia has one line. Amazon has a TON of books he illustrated, pages upon pages. So I start going through them. And I spot a snake. And so that tickles something enough that I realize there must have been a snake in the book I remember. And then I remember blue fluted-y shapes of some sort. Finally I see a snake-and-mongoose combo that seems very familiar except it is definitely not the right book.

Finally I re-google “aruego snake” which gets me to Marie Louise – mostly not in english, and I re-re-google “marie louise aruego” and find – Runaway Marie Louise! I see the cover and it’s a completely visceral response. I haven’t seen this book probably since I was five, though rereading the description I definitely remember loving it. It’s an amazing thing to think about, that whole chain of events. All it took was seeing work by the same illustrator, in the same general style, that brought back that initial reaction – twenty-eight years (-ish) after I last saw the book. I don’t know what exactly I want to do with illustration, yet, but I sure do think that finding the ability to produce that kind of deep-seated sense memory would be great.

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