Friday, May 01, 2009

Once Upon a Time; Old Time Fairy Tales



One of the first sets of children's books I had as a kid was the Book Trails set, published in maybe the 1930's? I can't remember where my mother picked it up; maybe a yard sale?
The books were bound in beautiful burgandy textured cloth and the covers were embossed with a knight riding up a winding path toward a castle (come to think of it, a whole lot like the cover illustration of this book).

Although the set was many many volumes, my preoccupation was with the first three or four titles; For Baby Feet, Through the Wildwood, and To Enchanted Lands; because they contained some of the most gorgeous illustrations of cherubs, fairies, spring gardens, ships at sea, night skies, mothers with their babies etc...
I was an illustration snob from the get-go (or too lazy to explore unillustrated text) and Book Trails set the bar pretty high.

So I mention all that because this Fairy Tale book is from the same era and has the same style of early twentieth century illustration. The illustrator for this book is listed as Margaret Evans Price, the editor is Katharine Lee Bates. It was published by Rand McNally in 1928.

I'll start with the endpapers. I love these. Bubbles and a silhouette witch; it's perfect.



The stories listed in this book are:
Jack and the Beanstalk, Briar Rose, or the Sleeping Beauty, Furball, Hop O' My Thumb, Furball, Drakestail, Jack the Giant Killer, Cinderella, Toads and Diamonds, King Hawksbeak, Little Red Riding Hood, The Dancing Shoes, Beauty and the Beast, Rumpelstiltskin, or Tom Tit Tot, The Frog Prince, Tom Thumb, The Goose Girl.



A lot of the illustrations have been marred with pencil scribble, but I'll try to post some of the images in better shape.

From Jack and the Beanstalk (those embroidered britches are awesome):



From Briar Rose (that cradle probably cost more than my house), and check out the stained glass border around the window:



From Furball:



From Cinderella:



From Beauty and the Beast:



I adore the wonderful detail in each picture; the stitching, the embellishments, the flourishes. What lucky children to have had this book growing up.

1 comment:

B. Ann Envelope said...

I am a kindred spirit- I also have boxes of old ex-library poor condition kids books- so glad to know I'm not alone in loving old kids books-