48 Responses to “BLOG SUBMISSION 4”

  1. angryf says:

    i loved that book as a child and it’s probably what got me into art and eventually working in comics

  2. roboton says:

    I own “Secrets of The Gnomes” and my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed it as bedtime reading two winters ago.

    It is a ferociously sweet book, but the ending can be a little harsh for a five-year old…

  3. KingOfBrian says:

    Your capitalization is quite extraordinary. I remember reading this book endlessly growing up, always wishing there was another page to turn to! The fake schematics were incredible! I know exactly where that book is in my parents house. Right outside the bathroom on the bottom shelf of the bookcase!

    I must buy a copy for my nephew. THANK YOU SIR!

  4. teensy says:

    #18 the gnomes are kabouters, the naked people are just attention whores

    #30 the recipes are real recipes, pretty typical dutch fare, but nicely illustrated like the other book

  5. merreborn says:



  6. Cool Products says:

    I really want to read this book now. I wonder if it is available at my local library. I now know what I am doing this weekend, haha.

  7. ili says:

    I THANK YOU, SIR, for directing my attention to the FINE SELECTION of David the Gnome episodes available on the YouTubes. It has brought back MANY FINE MEMORIES that I had previously DROWNED OUT with STOUTLY FERMENTED BEVERAGES.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Also, I remember that the book was very popular even in the late 1970s, not just the 1980s.

    According to Amazon, it was originally published May 1977.

  9. wolfiesma says:

    I’m not really sure this would be on any kid’s must have list. You might want to search a bit more for the perfect book for the nephew. When I start my own blog, it will be long discussions and exhaustive lists of all the best in children’s lit.

    The best thing about the Gnome book as I recall was the calligraphy used for most of the diagrams and what not. A book with calligraphy instead of text is a very nice artifact, although not one all kids are going to go for.

    But I am intrigued that JohnHodgman thought to reference this artifcact from MY past as I flipped through MY Onion newspaper this morning to find him there AGAIN… in MY living room, in MY brain.

    That is all.

  10. Yep says:

    And are you surprised? Nobody knows gnomes like the Dutch. Nobody. Except, perhaps, the Argentinians.

    And I’m still trying to figure out the code in your choice of capitalization John.

  11. StaceyG says:


    …”pitched their woo.”

  12. shabu says:

    ^^^ Technogeek’s post x 2.

    I’ve been reading BOINGBOING FOR YEARS and if John had been using the INTERNET FOR THE SAME TIME then he’d realise that TYPING IN ALL CAPS is the same as SHOUTING.

    I’m finding myself SKIPPING JOHN’s POSTS instead of reading them, unfortunately.

  13. Wordguy says:

    Great. Now I’ll have to rebook my flights.

  14. cinemajay says:

    @33, I found this fascinating article because I was intrigued by your post:

    /that is truly a unique find with an equally bizarre story behind it.

    //also killed a lot of time.

  15. Dan says:

    You were recently corrected by internet gnomes?

  16. semiotix says:

    I remember that book making the rounds of my proto-nerd friends in the fifth grade. The gnome gnudity was plentiful although mostly casual.

    Nevertheless I remember it well, especially as I was seeing minutely-detailed gnome gnockers at a time that was, in retrospect, DISTRESSINGLY CLOSE TO MY OWN SEXUAL AWAKENING.

  17. Sekino says:

    I clearly remember seeing that book several times on the shelf, but usually reached out to the ones about fairies and dragons (no, not as a kid either ;) ).

    I wish I would have read this statement before:

    ridiculously sophisticated and remarkably, bizarrely, europeanly frank about the gnome’s physical and sexual lives

    Because now, I SO gotta go back for it! They ought to put that on the back cover.

  18. Bergjylt says:

    YES! Express your everlasting REGRET and KNEEL before the BLINDING LIGHT of the WISDOM OF THE MIGHTY INTERNET!

    -This message brought to you by the Norwegian Union of Gnome Nudity Enthusiasts.

  19. agnot says:

    Heavens t’ Betsy (ALTHOUGH THE FIRST USE OF THIS PHRASE HAS BEEN TRACED TO Rose Terry Cooke’s “Huckleberries Gathered from New England Hills,” 1891, Betsy remains unidentified)! However do you get around the no-fly list?

  20. Jacquilynne says:

    A friend of my mother’s gave me a copy of that book to donate to my school when I was in the 5th grade. But apparently the Gnome nudity was considered far too much for delicate sensibilities, and the book was put up high on a teacher’s shelf where no one was actually allowed to read it.

  21. ClintonD says:

    I remember watching David the Gnome all the time as a kid. Wasn’t it on Nickelodeon? Nickelodeon isn’t how it used to be…

  22. Lupin Yonsei says:

    The Onion AV Club strikes again!

  23. zuzu says:


    Oh, Brian Froud, The Dark Crystal guy.

  24. anthony says:

    Merreborn has it right.

  25. Stefan Jones says:

    #14: “They also have a cookbook.”

    With recipes by gnomes or using gnomes?

    Do gnomes and trolls ever get busy with each other?

  26. Jerril says:

    I was always a fan of Terry Jones and Brian Froud’s “Lady Cottington’s Pressed Faerie Book”, myself. Which is awesome.

  27. stygyan says:

    I loved it when I was a kid. I even thought about gnomes being real because, who was going to go for the trouble of making so much things up?

  28. Blue says:

    I owned this book as a child and ADORED it. I would POUR over the illustrations, DRINKING them in.

    The NUDITY was the same as what you could EXPECT to see in any art gallery.

    Or Scandinavian WOOD.

  29. akbar56 says:

    I think the capitalization of words by Mr. Hodgman is just a reflection of his speaking (at least to me)

    Just read his post like he was reading it to you and you hear it.

  30. teensy says:

    Hey, I have that book in Dutch, and I have a matching mug. They also have a cookbook.

    It’s true the Dutch are remarkably frank about sex, and nudity is really no big deal. I once saw a story about a naked beach run on the morning news which included footage and interviews with fully naked people, none of this blurred out stuff.

  31. teensy says:

    FYI they’re called kabouters in Dutch.

  32. wolfiesma says:

    “Blog Submission” sounds like a gnomic wet spot. Furthermore, I think I found one such blob of blog in the garden this morning.

    I did have this book as a child which might explain the inappropriate innuendo I read into everything.

  33. nck wntrhltr says:

    There is ALSO discussion on the internets LINKING HODGMAN with a GNOME/MOLE UPRISING. Their platform based on NUDITY AND ALUMINUM FOIL COOKING RIGHTS has caused quite a stir in some circles.

  34. mwschmeer says:

    @15: Do you mean the fully naked people or the gnomes?

  35. Anonymous says:

    That is a FANTASTIC book… for some reason there was a copy lying around the house when I was a kid and I read it many, many times… absolutely brilliant… I plan to have many such books lying around for my kids to discover…

  36. schönberger says:

    Funny that this book comes up again now. I recently thought about it for the first time in 15 or 20 years, I remember finding it at my uncle’s house and instantly bought it again on amazon marketplace. It’s wonderful.
    Not the worst choice for your first book with boobs.

  37. Tim Byrd says:

    So, a John Hodgman Error, eh?

    Next time you should get a Justin Long to blog.

  38. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Zuzu @10: Brian Froud, who lives in a small village in Devon that has the highest per capita incidence of professional fantasy illustrators of any settlement on earth.

  39. eJagger says:

    Ah, but as fake encyclopedias go, nothing beats the impossibly stunning Codex Seraphinianus.

    Too bad it’s out of print.

  40. rosellastreett says:

    Speaking of KNOMES, can anyone recall the name of the movie in which the main character steals KNOMES from peoples yards? There are some scenes in the movie where he sees things happening backwards.

  41. Cunning says:

    Page 17. Rubenesque female gnome. I was a young man in an age before Internet porn. That’s all I care to reveal.

  42. MasterPo23 says:

    My family enjoyed this book so much we created a gift-giving holiday called Snotgurgle Day (Snotgurgles being a Gnome hating/consuming variety of Troll). It’s held annually on October 15th (which is no-so coincidentally halfway between my birthday and Christmas!).

  43. Razzabeth says:

    If you liked that book, Mr. Hodgman, you will just love Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book. It is delightful and becomes a touch erotic towards the end as the Lady grows up into a young woman.

    I would post a link, but I’m in a hurry. I’m sure you can find it on teh Google.

  44. el_mustango says:

    My parents had this book (not sure why), and I was going to post a comment about the depiction of a naked female gnome, but then I read:

    “#22 posted by Cunning , October 23, 2008 9:57 AM

    Page 17. Rubenesque female gnome. I was a young man in an age before Internet porn. That’s all I care to reveal.”

    and I realized that I couldn’t have said it better.

  45. cinemajay says:

    My mother bought this book for me as a child–both of us believing it to be fun and extremely imaginative. It was both. It also led to a lot of questions, earlier than she anticipated.

    @30, Stefan, if you can get a copy, please do. You will find that trolls and gnomes are bitter foes. The lives of trolls are also detailed in the Gnomes book. Also, the size differentiation between the two would make ‘getting busy’ painful, if not impossible.

    /going home this weekend to get my copy out of storage…along with the figures.

  46. technogeek says:

    FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH, John’s TYPING STYLE HURTS my eyes, and for this reason I TEND TO SKIP PAST his posts RATHER THAN try to READ THEM.

    De gustibus, do what you like; just felt I owed you the data point

  47. Anonymous says:

    Ooh, I found this book at the Friends of the Library sale.

  48. gothmom says:

    Thank you John Hodgman for recalling that CRAZE from the late 1970′s for me. PADDINGTON BEAR was also very popular at that time as well.

    For those of you nostalgic for Gnomes but not wishing to RETURN TO YOUR PARENTS’ HOME to seek it out, check out your local public LIBRARY!

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