Here is a very special rare wooden puzzle depicting the fable of “Little Black Sambo”. The colors are bright and I see no loss of color on this wood puzzle. . It was made by The Judy Co., Minneapolis, Minn. The company started in 1936 after Mr. Hymie made a wood block toy for his daughter, Judy. There was such a demand for his homemade puzzles that the company was born. After so much demand for the puzzle he was forced to hire people and expand the building. As an aside they hired 300 employees of which half of them were special need or handicapped. They were one of the first companies to do that at the time. The company was sold in 1968. Their motto was “It’s fun to play the Judy way”. This puzzle is number 36 of 48 in their product line and has 20 inlay pieces. . They label their toys “ IQ toys for children”. Little black Sambo in a bright red shirt and blue shorts is standing in front of a yellow and black tiger holding Sambo’s green umbrella by the tail. The original story depicted Sambo meeting 3 tigers who wanted to eat him. To prevent that happening he gave each tiger one of his pieces of clothing. The tigers chase around the tree until they become a pool of butter. Sambo recovers his clothing and his mother uses the butter on his pancakes for breakfast. The puzzle has been used as part of the round trademark in the lower right hand corner is partially gone. I also see a small ¼ inch first layer of wood slice gone from the upper right corner. The story of Little Black Sambo was written by Helen Bannerman and published in 1899. It was on the best seller list until the end of 1940 when there was a movement to ban it because it was felt that “Sambo” was believed to be considered a racial remark and the story illustrations were thought to also be racial based. This puzzle’s illustration is a part of African American history. Later another book was published without the name or the inference of the pictures.
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