A few weeks ago I was browsing the children’s shelves in the wonderful Eric T Moore Books in Hitchin when I noticed this fairly unremarkable looking book. As I hadn’t yet come across anything I wanted to buy I picked it up anyway, expecting a generic collection of fairy tales. But what wonders were within! It is a treasury indeed.
Turns out this is a 1981 WHSmith exclusive printing of a book originally published in the 1960s by Western Publishing Inc. The treasury is edited and selected by Bryna and Louis Untermeyer (and some of the stories are retold by Louis Untermeyer). It is 544 pages long and contains selections from The Just So Stories, Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, Bambi, The Sword in the Stone, the Hobbit, The Wizard of Oz and countless others. And best of all, every story is illustrated – sometimes by illustrators I’m familiar with – EH Shepard, John Tenniel, Charley Harper, Alice and Martin Provensen and some new-to-me illustrators such as Gordon Laite.
Wonderful colours in Robert J Lee’s Hobbit illustrations – I love the flowers on Gandalf’s robe. He also illustrates Poo-Poo Finds a Dragon.
Charley Harper’s stunning Bambi illustrations.
This gorgeous owl in his green sunglasses. (I didn’t know this story or illustrator.)
This was the first time I’d come across Gordon Laite. His fairy story illustrations are fantastic.
Adrienne Ségur has one illustration in Sleeping Beauty. Her work is beautiful and I am hoping to get a copy of her Alice one day.
The wonderful Richard Scarry illustrates Drakestail.
A Japanese take on Bluebeard.
Ray Bradbury’s short story about learning not to be afraid of the dark.
I didn’t know these stories either. I love Jean Winslow’s pen (or pencil) and watercolour (I think) illustrations.
And finally Aesop’s Fables retold by Louis Untermeyer and illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen. A grin to rival the Cheshire Cat’s!
There are so so many wonderful stories and illustrators in this book this is just scratching the surface. And the moral of this story is don’t judge a book by its cover!