Monday, 4 October 2010

Children's Book Illustrations I Like

'Gulliver's Travels', first published 1727, this edition 1918.
'Poor Minette' -the author was born in 1814. Not sure when the book was first published. This edition is from 1954 and has the original illustrations.
I love illustrations in children's books, and once vaguely imagined I could be an illustrator. Maybe one day I will show you my few attempts! But not today. Instead I have some examples spanning 150 years. This edition of 'Gulliver's Travels' was published in 1918. I love the graphic simplicity of the cover. The book on the right is a strange little tale which was sent to me by Anairam. Thank you! It is called 'Poor Minette-The Letters of Two French Cats' and is by P.J.Stahl. It seems at first glance to be aimed at children, but is very serious and at times quite macabre. Bebe and Minette are sisters, and when they were young, they quarrelled over a toy. Minette felt unloved, and so went to sulk on the roof. While there, she was enticed away by a handsome suitor. He no sooner married her and took her to live in wealthy circles, than he went off her, and ran off with a succession of other cat loves. Minette writes to Bebe, to tell her of her unhappy state-'You see Bebe, I am rich-but I would much rather be happy'. This rash statement upsets Bebe, who is poor, and looking after her elderly mother who sits by the cat hole all day. The mice have been driven away by an efficient pest controller, and things are looking bad. Mother cat is blind and deaf and on her last legs. The way the story is written makes it a disconcerting read-the cats are human in all ways but have very cat like things happen-the sitting by the hole and the fighting over a toy. The illustrations are beautiful. Sometimes the cats have hands, and at others they have paws. (This is similar to one of my own stories!)
I felt like this today!
The story does have a happy ending, but only after a very unpleasant episode where Minette almost gets sewn into a bag and chucked into the river!

'Boysie' by Isabel Cameron. There is no publishing date in this book-but I would guess about 1940 from his clothes.
'A Hundred Million Francs' from 1963. The book is by Paul Berna and originally published in 1954. The illustrations are by Richard Kennedy.

I love the way he has captured the dejected look of
the children in this scene. They have just wrecked their 'horse'-a roughly constructed wooden horse over a bike frame, which they take turns on careening down a hill. It promises to be an exciting story, and when I am tired and want to read, I love a good children's book!


Sonia ;) said...

Arnt old books so much fun...Love the smell and look of an old book. The art work is amazing because of how they got the image, was printed compared to now. So many things can make a old book seem new.


Leenie said...

Yes, a lot of old children's books and old texts have a priceless kind of illustration.

nana_ang_poppaphil said...

There is nothing quite like old books with there illustrations.

Erratic Thoughts said...

Ahh!Old books n their illustrations.Can't thank you enough for sharing this.

Now, it reminds me of my english class lessons, granny's tales.Yes, they are indeed priceless...:):) *sigh*
Thank you!

Mar said...

i love childrens illistrated books
i get great inspiration from them'and wonderful practice too

Christine LeFever said...

How lovely, and thank you for sharing. I too love, love, love the illustrations in so many of the older books for children.

Lynne said...

I love some of the illustrations in children's books. I'm sure you'd make a great illustrator.

KindredSpirit said...

i absolutely love the cat book. the weary cat is great!

Suvarna said...

Oh gosh these remind me of my childhood, I had a huge book full of the first type of illustrations you showed here and I remember pouring over it as a kid. Nice memories.