New book: The Book of Terns, by Peter Delacorte ’67 and Michael C. Witte ’66 (Ternaround Press)

The book: More than 30 years ago, Delacorte, a San Francisco writer, teamed up with Witte, an artist and illustrator, to create a book of  wacky illustrations of puns on the bird-word “tern.” Their humorous book was published by Penguin Books in 1978 and garnered great reviews: The New York Times called it a “page terner.” The original edition of The Book of Terns was reprinted several times through the 1980s. Recently Delacorte and Witte decided to publish a new edition with an updated cover and several new illustrations, including Internet.

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Peter Delacorte ’67, left, and Michael Witte ’66 (Courtesy Peter Delacorte, Michael Witte)
The authors: Delacorte also is the author of the novel Time on My Hands, which was a finalist for the United Kingdom’s Arthur C. Clark Science Fiction Award, and is a former Jeopardy! champion. Witte’s comic illustrations have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and PAW, among other publications.
Illustrations from the book: (Click for larger images. Reprinted with permission of the authors)


Reviews: Audubon Magazine called this “collection of pun-infested tern-focused cartoons … [a] hilarious collaboration.” And Yarborough Knott (a.k.a. Larry Gonick) of The Potrero View wrote: “Witte, whose New Yorker drawings have a characteristically whimsical and sometimes fey line, displays unexpected stylistic virtuosity here. Clearly, something about the subject matter, er, terned him on. The terns appear as line drawings, half-tones, and simulated etchings. Some are dark and dense, others light and lithe. All are deft and clever. And there are a lot of them.  Because there’s no end, really, to the turns on terns within terns. And they’re fresh as the day the authors terned their pens to them.”