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HERR QUACKELFROSCH

One of my mother's many projects (see the hand-carved puppets also offered here) was a hand drawn and colored story about a whimsical character named Mister Quackelfrosch, ('quackel' being the German term for the nattering of a duck or goose, or in this case a frog). The original illustrations were created on sheets of notepaper with water-colored sketches and calligraphic captions shortly after her emigration from post-war Germany, where she had worked as a kindergarten teacher.

During my formative years, my mother's love of "rocks" grew from a hobby to a home business as she learned first how to create polished gems from those rocks, then to create custome jewelry pieces to mount them in, and her designs became more and more sought after. Growing up in this environment I was exposed to both the artristic learning on my mother's side and the technical knowledge that my father, a machinist by trade, imparted, and eventually began a custom jewelry manufacturing operation of my own, but that's beside the point.

One day when my mother and I were conspiring on a jewelry project, I saw those drawings and became intrigued by a new idea. While my mother begrudgingly adopted technology where necessary to achieve her design goals, I embraced it, especially as an aid to creativity. Computers had become a part of my repertoire, so I decided to digitize and clean up my mother's artwork and turn it into a printable picturebook. Ultimately this resulted in a layout that I printed on a color laser printer and sprial bound, resulting in a fairly decent, albeit not quite commercial standard, booklet.

Since the original text was in German, and not too many people in America can read German, my project included carefully removing the original text from the pictures and replacing it with English, translated by myself to keep as much of the original cadence and inflection as possible, while making it sensible to an English reader. Ultimately, I ended up producing the booklet in three different formats: the original version with my mother's hand lettering, a translated version with machine-rendered text, and a version with the original pages in color and the translated pages in greyscale. The finished product was sold for $25.00 per copy and was quite popular with collectors of my mother's creations.

The story, by the way, is about Mr. Quackelfrog's infatuation with a pixie-mermaid who lives in the same lillypond as he. A girl-frog from the neighboring pond is equally infatuated with him, but he just brushes her off and spends all his time trying to get close to the pixie. One day he manages to get the pixie's attention, but instead of returning his affection, she splashes him, thumbs her nose at him, and even goes so far as to tickle his nose with a blade of grass before disappearing into the depths of the pond, while the man in the moon watches overhead with amusement.

For months, the lovesick frog sits by the pond hoping to see the pixie again, but she never reappears. Finally he gathers his wits and plucks the most beautiful lilly he can find from his pond and hops over to the neighboring pond with it. He asks the girl-frog's father for her hand, and the two are married in a joyful celebration by the mushroom house where the father frog lives. When the last cup is emptied and all the food is gone and after a long goodbye, the new couple hop off and dive into the moon-beglistened lillypond.

The price of $250 includes the complete set of digitized, print-ready images with the original hand-lettered German text, the translated version with machine-generated text, and the images without any text. These are provided on a DVD, along with the original artwork from which it was produced, a copy of the printed and bound booklet, and full rights to the use of the materials.

The thumbnail images below show what the digitized artwork looks like. The full-sized images for printing are 2128x1318 pixels and scaled to fit on a 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 sheet, which is half a sheet of standard letter size paper.



















A Kingman Daily Miner article about the author