Double-page spread from M.L. Driscoll's Ze Sneaky Bakerr
It arrived by mail. Special edition bound by hand, Number 21 of 47 copies: Ze Sneaky Bakerr written and illustrated by M.L. Driscoll. Here's a clip from the introduction:
One winter's morning while bringing out the wake-up coffee, Annie noticed something hanging from the front door. It was a market bag full of still-warm French bread. No letter, no note, no clue at all as to where this mysterious morning manna might have come from . . . Just who was this sneaky baker? That phrase kept going through my head like an ad jingle . . . Then it took on a French accent and started rhyming . . . I started doodling, and this character emerged, taking on a life of its own . . . This book is dedicated to Dave Stewart, Ze Sneaky Bakerr. A guy who sometimes just loafs around. Special thanks to Annie Vennerbeck, who viewed my doodles and patiently listened to my doggrel bark for days.
Oh, gosh. We knew him back when. Used to take a heart-stopping spin on the dance floor in his arms every year at our Christmas party, and when we took him sailing on the "Dove," he asked incredulously "How can you ever go back in to work?" We have fond memories of his and Annie's hospitality and humor at their little homestead (that's one of their outbuildings in the illustration above) in New Hampshire. We studied with and taught alongside his master teacher, Norman Baer, for whom we sat in our salad days:
Portrait of Mrs. Willis sometime in the seventies by Norman Baer
Michael, aka The Chicken, was one of the stars -- loaded with talent and perhaps a bit undisciplined in his wild Irish youth. Now he's got the discipline, and this beautiful book would make Norman wicked proud. We are honored to own a copy. Thank you so much, Mikey, and God bless.
N.C. Wyeth's cover illustration for James Fenimore Cooper's Last of the Mohicans
Update: Just thought of something. M.L. Driscoll. N.C. Wyeth. Wyeth and his spiritual father Howard Pyle were two of Norman's artistic heroes. Mikey is definitely carrying on the tradition.