"Hubert the Lion was haughty and vain and
especially proud of his elegant mane."
Then one day, a terrible accident occurred
and his mane was burned leaving him
with "a head full of stubble".
So begins Hubert's story.
EARLY DRAWING OF HUBERT ON FIRE
"I've done much sketching in the zoos over the years and I'd always seen lions as pretty much the same. Very aloof and staring beyond you off in the distance. Much too proud to accept us beings, humans that is. I decided that I wanted to do a lion story and Hubert would be proud. Especially proud of his mane. And the worse thing that can happen to a proud lion with such an elegant mane would be to lose his mane, so I set fire to it. The way it happened , he was sharpening his claws on a rock, and a spark flew out, flew up into his mane, which of course, caught fire and the way he went into the jungle to go leaping into a creek and douses the flames. Well, that was creating a problem, but didn't mean I had a story. The problem of restoring his mane was the next move. It took me a long time to figure out what would be the cure for a bald-headed lion."
Bill Peet in an interview with E. Edwards, post 1970
|Hubert was Bill Peet's first published book. His wife Margaret thought of the title. This drawing of the Barber Baboon hurrying to help the other animals was not included in the final version of the book.
An early sketch of Hubert after fire.
|One of Bill Peet's first stories was about a group of African animals that set out to see the world.
|Bill didn't see his illustrations in color until the publisher sent him a proof. To save money, the publisher required him to make his drawings using a technique called color separation.
Copyright 1959 by William B. Peet, Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston