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.
An Unexpected Party from The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien illustrated by Robert J Lee
Poo-Poo Finds a Dragon by CS Forester and illustrated by Robert J Lee
Charley Harper’s stunning Bambi illustrations.
From Bambi by Felix Salten and illustrated by Charley Harper
This gorgeous owl in his green sunglasses. (I didn’t know this story or illustrator.)
From Raoul the Owl by Jay Williams and illustrated by Lilian Obligado
This was the first time I’d come across Gordon Laite. His fairy story illustrations are fantastic.
Cinderella illustrated by Gordon Laite
Rapunzel illustrated by Gordon Laite
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.
Sleeping Beauty Illustrated by Adrienne Ségur
The wonderful Richard Scarry illustrates Drakestail.
Drakestail illustrated by Richard Scarry
A Japanese take on Bluebeard.
Bluebeard Illustrated by Kanako Tanabe
Ray Bradbury’s short story about learning not to be afraid of the dark.
Switch on the Night by Ray Bradbury and illustrated by Hilary Knight
I didn’t know these stories either. I love Jean Winslow’s pen (or pencil) and watercolour (I think) illustrations.
Ting-a-Ling and the Five Magicians by Frank R Stockton illustrated by Jean Winslow
And finally Aesop’s Fables retold by Louis Untermeyer and illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen. A grin to rival the Cheshire Cat’s!
The Cat and the Mice from Aesop’s Fables illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen
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!