No catches, no fine print just unconditional book loving for your children with their favourites saved to their own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop plus lots lots more...Find out more
The Everyman edition reprints the classic black and white illustrations of C. Walter Hodges which accompanied the first edition in 1954. Around the year 117 AD, the Ninth Legion, stationed at Eburacum - modern day York - marched north to suppress a rebellion of the Caledonian tribes, and was never heard of again. During the 1860s, a wingless Roman Eagle was discovered during excavations at the village of Silchester in Hampshire, puzzling archaeologists and scholars alike. Rosemary Sutcliff weaves a compelling story from these two mysteries, dispatching her hero, the young Roman officer Marcus Aquila, on a perilous journey beyond Hadrian's Wall to find out what happened to the discredited legion in which his father served, and to salvage, if he can, its Eagle and its honour. All the essential elements of a classic adventure are here - the daring quest, the uncovering of the secrets of the past, and a nerve-racking escape across the mountains, pursued by vengeful tribesmen. But it is the human element which triumphs, and one of the most memorable scenes in the book is Marcus appealing to a crowd baying for blood to save a young British gladiator from certain death during the Saturnalia Games. Proud son of a Brigantian chieftain, Esca becomes his slave, then his freedman, and the indispensable companion of his travels. The Eagle of the Ninth is partly the story of their growing friendship, crossing the divide created by conquest and colonialism; and partly Marcus's journey of self-discovery as he learns of his father's fate and comes to terms with the end of his own military career. At the end he embraces a different, more hopeful future - not in Rome but 'under the pale and changeful northern skies' - acquiring a farm in the Downs, and marrying the girl next door. The Eagle of the Ninth has all its author's hallmark qualities - a mature and complex story, a wealth of historical detail, cultural sensitivity, wit and compassion. Above all, Sutcliff is able to conjure up the atmosphere of a distant age in a totally convincing way. It is hardly surprising that her work would set the standard for all historical fiction to come.
Auntie Katusha has just come from the Old Country, bringing poppy seeds to make cakes for a mischievous four-year-old boy named Andrewshek. A little neighbour, Erminka, who wears red boots which are too big for her, joins Andrewshek for a series of adventures with talking animals, including a greedy goose who steals the cakes; a naughty white goat who hides on the roof; and a kitten, a dog and two chickens who are determined to gatecrash the children's tea party. There is art on every page, featuring cheeky animals, gooseberry tarts, colourful shawls and Russian dolls, and cheerful Auntie Katusha in her kerchiefed and aproned splendour.
Everyone knows Pinocchio, the walking, talking wooden puppet carved from a table leg. Pinocchio, an endearing scamp, is always getting himself into trouble. But it isn't the sort of trouble most kids get into. Skiving off school, he is kidnapped by a puppeteer, robbed by a Cat and Fox, and persuaded to visit an earthly paradise where naughty children have perpetual fun - and turn into donkeys. Sold to a circus, then to a man who tries to drown him for his donkey-skin, he miraculously turns back into a puppet and goes in search of his 'father' (whom he must rescue from the belly of a giant dogfish ...). Throughout these manic adventures he is haunted by the ghost of a Talking Cricket he has crushed to death for giving good advice, and watched over by his personal guardian fairy. All the while, Pinocchio dreams of becoming a real boy. Told with wit and humour, his story is also a moral fable about making the right choices, and what it is to be a loving human being. Pinocchio is an astonishing work of fantasy which has been toned down and sentimentalized over the years, not least by the Walt Disney film. Everyman returns to a beautifully illustrated early translation of 1916 which captures the vivid inventiveness of Collodi's original.
A beautifully illustrated edition of a novel that has enthralled young American readers for generations. It is the story of John Cameron Butler-captured as a small child in a raid on the Pennsylvania frontier by the Indian tribe Lenni-Lenape. Adopted by the great warrior Cuyloga and renamed True Son, he has spent 11 years living and thinking of himself as fully Indian. But when the tribe signs a treaty that requires them to return their white captives, 15-year-old True Son is returned against his will to the family he had long forgotten, and to a life that he no longer understands or desires. Despairing and defiant, he manages a dangerous escape only to find himself painfully unsure of where he belongs. Beautifully written, sensitively told, and emotionally compelling, The Light in the Forest is an American classic that has sold more than one million copies in the last ten years in paperback.
Wonderful collection of nonsense verse, from Chesterton to Dahl, Lear to Carroll. With beautitul, original illustrations, both full colour and black & white.
This charming volume brings back into print some of the finest illustrated children's books from the Arts and Crafts Movement: Kate Greenaway's much-loved alphabet book, A Apple Pie, along with a selection of her illustrated nursery rhymes. Greenaway's drawings conjure up a never-never land of rural simplicity and innocence-an escape from the squalor of Victorian cities-that is as delightful now as it was when these gems of children's literature first appeared in the 1880s.
When Kay gets a splinter of the wicked troll's magic mirror in his heart it becomes hard and cold - just like a lump of ice. Kay is abducted and bewitched by the chillingly beautiful Snow Queen and his loyal sister, Gerda is prepared to face anything to find her brother and bring him home. So, she undertakes the nightmarish journey to the Snow Queen's icy labyrinth. . . .
Seventeenth-century Frenchman Jean de La Fontaine happily plundered Aesop and other classical writers as a source for his witty, elegant fables, as well as inventing a number of his own. Seeking to expose the weaknesses of human nature, he offered vivid perspectives on greed and flattery, envy and avarice, love and friendship, old age and death. The sixty fables collected here - from 'The Crow and the Fox' and 'The Cock and the Pearl' to 'The Grasshopper and the Ant' and 'The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse' - are illustrated with more than a hundred drawings by R. de La Neziere which which charmingly capture La Fontaine's unforgettable cast of animal personalities.
With 13 children of his own clamouring for bedtime stories it isn't surprising that author George MacDonald discovered he had a gift for composing fairy tales. But these were fairy tales with a difference. At the Back of the North Wind, the first to be published, became a Victorian favourite and marked something of a milestone in children's fiction. While owing a debt to Hans Andersen, Dickens and Kingsley, MacDonald created a distinctive imaginary world existing in parallel with the grim social realities of mid-19th-century England. A fairy tale is not al allegory, he once remarked. It is, of course, but the trick was to disguise it, to entertain the reader as well as instruct, leaving them to draw a moral if they pleased, or else simply to enjoy the fantasy. Children for over a hundred years have been enchanted and moved by the story of Nanny the crossing sweeper, her lame friend Jim, and above all Diamond, the poor coachman's son, whose life is transformed by a brief glimpse of a beautiful country at the back of the north wind . The first edition (1871) was illustrated by the pre-Raphaelite artist Thomas Hughes, whose romantic and highly individualistic drawings are reproduced in the Everyman edition.
The story of Jack, the intrepid little boy whose courage and ingenuity defeated a host of many-headed giants several times his size, is an English folk-tale that must have been told often in the Victorian nursery of the Doyle family. Growing up in the 1830s, they were all gifted children, especially Richard, whose natural talent for draughtsmanship was matched by imaginative invention and a passion for legend and the grotesque. In 1842, when only eighteen, he created for his own delight a picture-book version of Jack The Giant Killer, writing the text by hand, and carefully placing on each page a water-colour illustration within a pictorial border. The new everyman edition has typeset the text for greater legibility and redesigned the book for contemporary appeal, while retaining Doyle's vivid and characterful illustrations, enlarged and enhanced by modern colour printing techniques. The result is a book that will satisfy the modern child's appetite for bloodthirsty exploits of wonder and magic, yet is at the same time a true collector's item for anyone interested in the history of children's book illustration.
Richard Hannay''s ennui comes to an abrupt end when a murder is committed in his flat. Only a few days before the dead man had revealed to him an assassination plot which would have terrible consequences for international peace.'
Dumas' most popular novel, The Three Musketeers, has long been a favourite with children, and its heroes are well-known from many a film and TV adaption. Set in France in the seventeenth century, it follows the fortunes of D'Artagnan, a poor Gascon gentleman, who arrives in Paris to join the Kings Musketeers and is befriended by three of them, Athos, Portos and Aramis, with whom he embarks upon a career of adventure and romance. Dumas is a brilliant story-teller: inexhaustively inventive, a master of dialogue and with a fine sense of drama and of historical period, he seizes the readers attention on the first page and holds it to the last. Everyman's Library Children's Classics reprints the first, and the best, English translation, by William Barrow.
The exotically named Baroness Orczy was the daughter of a Hungarian aristocrat who came to London at the age of fifteen. first published in 1905, her historical novel The Scarlet Pimpernel became almost as famous as the French Revolution itself. It tells of the escapades of Sir Percy Blakeney, whose mission is to help the innocent victims of the Reign of Terror escape the guillotine. Assuming ever more daring and ingenious disguises he suceeds in both outwitting his opponents and in keeping his activities a secret from his English friends. Everyman's Library Children's Classics publishes the novel in a new and up-to-date edition to tie in with the BBC production to be screened this Christmas.
The story of the Spanish knight Don Quizote whose devotion to the tales of chivalry leads him into a series of bizarre adventures in the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, blends fantasy, comedy and gripping narrative in a way that has appealed to children ever since it was first published. All the wisdom and humour of Cervantes' great seventeenth-century classic are to be found in Parry's very readable modern abridgement, enhanced by the delightful illustrations of Walter Crane, one of the greatest of all English children's book illustrators.
These classic tales of Awful Warnings about the consequences of Bad Behaviour are among the best of comic verse ever written for children. 'Designed for the Admonition of children between the ages of eight and fourteen years', they were first published in 1907; though such eccentricity as Henry King's chewing string may no longer be a common misdemeanour, the humour is perennial and continues to entertained generations of children and their parents. This edition includes New Cautionary Tales, first published in 1930, and illustrated by Nicholas Bentley, who replaced as collaborator the poet's friend Lord Basil Blackwood (B. T. B. ) after his death in World War I.
`Am dining at Goldini's Restaurant, Gloucester Road, Kensington. Please come at once and join me there. Bring with you a jemmy, a dark lantern, a chisel, and a revolver - S. H.' The game's afoot for the most famous amateur detective of all time in this collection of eight of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic tales. `The Speckled Band', a Victorian melodrama in a country house, comes complete with murderous villain, murdered heroine, and a very unpleasant snake; `Silver Blaze' tells of a missing race horse on Dartmoor which turns out not to be missing at all, and a murder that never was. In `The Redheaded League' a pawnbroker answers an advertisement for a red-headed man and bizarrely finds himself copying out the Encyclopedia Britannica; in `The Bruce Partington Plans' Holmes is skulking in the London Underground with a dead body when his patriotic services are called upon to find some stolen state secrets in the run-up to World War I. Sidney Paget was the original illustrator and helped to form the image of Sherlock Holmes which exists to this day - in fact, it was he who created the famous deer-stalker!
This collection of eight French contes collected by Charles Perrault in the last decade of the seventeenth century, contains perhaps the most famous fairy stories of all time - 'Cinderella', 'The Sleeping Beauty', 'Puss in Boots', 'Blue Beard' and of couse the eponymous 'Little Red Riding Hood'. It quickly became the standard version of stories on these themes, was translated into innumerable languages and then re-entered the oral tradition of most European countries, particularly England. The Everyman edition contains the classic Heath Robinson illustrations from 1921.
The famous stage-designer Ivan Bilibin was a self-taught artist who was lucky enough to be offered the commission of a lifetime at the very start of his career. In 1899 the Department for the Production of State Documents asked this young Russian artist to illustrate a series of fairy tales, a task that took him four years to complete and inspired his finest work, reflecting his deep love for his country and his passionate interest in its national dress and wooden architecture. This, with ten other traditional tales, make up the collection for which all Bilibin's original artwork has been faithfully reproduced. Gillian Avery has provided a retelling of the texts which admirably complements Bilibin's distinctive illustration, itself rooted in the stylized forms of Russian folk and medieval art.
'The very essence of all illustration for children's books' said The Times on Christmas Eve, 1878, shortly after the publication of Caldecott's first two picture books, or Toy Books as they were called, John Gilpin and The House that Jack Built. They were an immediate success, and in Caldecott's special talent for juxtaposing words and pictures, he created a tradition of children's picture-book making that continues to the present day and has influenced many artists, in particular, Maurice Sendak. Between 1878 and 1886 Cldecott produced sixteen picture books, taking as texts traditional rhymes and songs, and illustrating them in sepia colour with great humour and feeling for the English countryside which so often provides the background. The collection reproduces eight of his books, including The Babes in the Wood, Oliver Goldsmith's Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog, The Great Panjandrum Himself, The Queen of Hearts, Ride a Cock-Horse to Banbury Cross, and Sing a Song Of Sixpence.
Just two years after the extraordinarily successful publication of LITTLE WOMEN and GOOD WIVES, Louisa Alcott's brother-in-law died, leaving two sons. She immediately decided to write a sequel to provide for her sister and nephews, and LITTLE MEN, published in 1871, became a tribute to her father's theories of education. The story is set in Plumfield, a school run by Jo and her German husband, Professor Bhaer, and they follow the precepts of Grandpa March in cultivating the little mind - 'not tasking it with long hard lessons, parrot-learned, but helping it to unfold as naturally and beautifully as sun and dew help roses bloom'. The different ways in which the children, good and bad, respond to this kind of nurturing make up the episodes of the novel which instantly proved as popular as its predecessors, selling 42, 000 in the first year after its publication.
The appeal of this Canadian classic children's book is seemingly everlasting - for it is a story of an individual making good by her own efforts, an orphaned girl sent to live with an elderly brother and sister who really want a boy to help on the farm. First published in 1908, the book was written by a scoolteacher who'd experienced the same upbringing as her heroine and who set her story in the place she knew best - Prince Edward Island. The story was popular from the start, and Mark Twain described Anne as 'the dearest, and most lovable child in fiction since the ommortal Alice'. The book has been filmed, staged, tramslated in many languages, and has been introduced by a highly successful TV dramatization. Sybil Tawse, English portrait painter and illustrator of many classics, including Mrs Gaskell's CRANFORD and Lamb's ESSAYS OF ELIA, provided the pen-and-ink drawings in 1933.
Originally published as a serial in the children's monthly magazine ST NICHOLAS, LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY was Frances Hodgson Burnett's first children's novel and on its publication in book form in October 1866 it became at once an astonishing success. Reprinted before publication (even though its first printing was 10, 000 copies), the book went on the bestseller lists alongside Tolstoy's WAR AND PEACE and Rider Haggards's KING SOLOMON'S MINES. Marghanita Laski described the novel as 'the best vesion on the Cinderella story in modern idiom that exists', and this tale of an arrogant English aristocrat reformed by his grandson, brought up in the classless society of New York, has retained its popularity over the years. Charles Brock, the PUNCH artist who epitomized the stereotype of the reserved, shy Englishman, illustrated the book with eight watercolours and forty-five pen-and-ink sketches for an edition first published by Warne in 1925.
The five original fairy tales included in this volume were first published by Davis Nutt in 1888. Although it is said that Wilde wrote them for his two young sons, the author himself claimed they were '. . . . not for children, but for childlike people from eighteen to eighty'. Since then the stories have been constantly reprinted and, despite the author's disclaimer, children have made the tales their own, a particular favourite being 'The Selfish Giant' - the highly moral story of the giant who banished children from his garden, so that spring never came. Charles Robinson, who produced the illustrations for a special edition first published in 1913, brought to the book a feeliong for its innate sadness that exactly fits the poetry of Wilde's text.
Gillian Avery, historian of children's books and novelist whose first book THE WARDEN'S NEICE has become a modern classic of children's literature, has made a very personal selection of favourite poems. If children like them as much as she does, then (she says) they will stay in the mind long after their readers have grown out of childhood. Her taste is for the Augustan rather than the Romantic writers, but her choice of over two hundred and fifty pieces ranges widely, from ballads to Ted Hughes, from Ben Jonson to Noel Coward. The illustrations are taken from the books of natural history made by Thomas Bewick, the celebrated English wood engraver.
This classic story of a Swiss family - pastor, wife and four sons -shipwreaked on an uninhabited island (most fortunately blessed with an unlikely profusion of natural resources) was written by a Swiss army chaplain for the entertainment of his own four sons. The family adventures in survival; also provided a useful starting point for lessons in natural history. First published in Zurich in 1812-13, the story was translated into French and English shortly afterwards and has appeared in many versions ever since. When, in 1909, the American artist Louis John Rhead was invited to illustrate the Robinson's adventures, he based his numerous drawings on 'sketches made in the tropics. '
The first major retelling of the Greek myths and legends, A WONDER-BOOK was published in 1852. The American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne was a friend of the poet Longfellow and had much earlier suggested they collaborate on a story for children based on the legend of Pandora's Box, but this never materialized. Hawthorne went ahead on his own, adding five other myths which he adapted very freely in a romantic and readable style, used deliberately to remove the classical tales from what he called 'cold moonshine. ' Hawthorne's book was criticized by adults for his bowdlerization, but it has always been popular with children and has attracted many illustrators, none more distinguished than Arthur Rackham who made his pictorial contribution in 1922.
Among the best loved of all classics for children are the tales of Mowgli, the boy who learned the law of the jungle as he grew up among a pack of wolves in India's Seeonee Hills. First published in 1894, the book imagines a child living and flourishing in a community of animals - an idea that perhaps had its origin in Kipling's unhappy childhood. 'His stories are not animal stories in the realistic sense; they are wonderful, beautiful fairy tales, ' wrote Ernest Thompson Seton, the great Canadian naturalist. Kurt Wiese's illustrations, commissoned by the American firm of Doubleday in 1932, have never appeared in Britain before. An artist with a particular interest in animals and an amazing visual memory, he remembered all he had observed on his travels in the Far East during the early 1900s, first as a salesman in China and then as a prisoner-of-war of the Japanese.
The story of Robin Hood, said Roger Lancelyn Green can never die, nor cease to fire the imagination. Like the old fairy tales it must be told and told again, for it is touched with enchantment. Placing his hero's legendary history in the reign of Richard I of England. Roger Lancelyn Green has used as his sources the ballads, romances and plays, as well as the literary retellings of Noyes, Tennyson, Peacock and Scott. In this literary mosiac he has brought to life a character who is the archetypal outlaw and popular champion of the poor. Walter Crane, one of the masters of children's book illustration, created the drawing for a retelling of the Robin Hood story by Henry Gilbert. published in 1912.
Written in six weeks, and at first thought by its editor to be 'dull', this story of an American family - four sisters and their mother living through the months while father is away in the Civil War - has a universal and enduring appeal. The reason is clear. Louisa Alcott based her story on her own experience of family life. 'Not a bit sensational', she wrote, 'but simple and true, for we really lived most of it. ' When published in 1868, the book was illustrated by May Alcott, Louisa's mother. GOOD WIVES, a sequel to LITTEL WOMEN, was published in 1869, taking up the story of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy three years on. In 1912 an English artist, Millicent Etheldreda Gray, with a reputation for closely-worked studies of domestic settings, was commissioned by Hodder and Stoughton to paint twelve watercolours for this most long-lasting of all family stories. A new feature film of LITTLE WOMEN will be released by Columbia Pictures in 1995 starring Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon and directed by Gillian Armstrong.
First published as a serial in YOUNG FOLKS between May and July 1886 and now reprinted in an Everyman edition on the centenary of Stevenson's death. KIDNAPPED is an adventure story that has become the model for any thriller of escape and suspense. Set in 1751, the flight of David Balfour and Alan Breck across the Highlands of Scotland is based on real events. Through he wrote the book to make money, while living as an invalid in Bournemouth. Stevenson was proud of it; he inscribed a presentation copy with the couplet. Here is the one sound page of all my writing. The one I'm proud of and that I delight in. Rowland Hilder is famous for his paintings of the English countryside but his work in book illustration covered a much wider canvas. His drawing for KIDNAPPED were first published in 1930 and have undesevedly, been long out of print.
The most popular of all ghost stories was first published on 17 December 1843, and by Christmas Eve 6, 000 copies had been sold at a published price of five shillings. The story of Scrooge, a miser who becomes a different man when he is presented with visions of past, present and future by Marley's ghost, was an immediate success and has remainded so ever since. It is a book to read on Christmas Eve beside a blazing fire - and the best introduction to Dickens for young readers not quite ready for his longer novels. Arthur Rackham, master of the fantastic, illustrated the story in 1915.
Described on the title-page of the first edition as 'the autobiography of her horse, translated from the original equine', BLACK BEAUTY was Anna Sewell's only book, written when she fatally ill but determined to record her passopnate indignation at the insensitive behaviour of people towards animals. It has been loved by children ever since its first publication in 1877, just a few months before the death of its author, whose declared aim had been to 'induce kindness, sympathy and an understanding treatment of horses'. The illustrations by Lucy Kemp-Welch first apperared in 1915.
Defoe's most celebrated story of Crusoe's shipwreck, his resourcefulness and ingenuity in his soliatry life on a desert island and his rescue of Man Friday has been abridged and retold many times since its publication (in two volumes) in 1719. It even appeared recently in graphic-novel form. In 1968 Kathleen Lines determined to make the original text more accessible to young readers by breaking Defoe's original, continuous narrative into chapters, slightly cutting Crusoe's long meditations, and compressing the relevant bits of THE FARTHER ADVENTURES into a neat Epilogue, so that readers learn what happened to Friday. The evocative engravings are reproduced from a mid-nineteenth-century edition published by Cassell, Petter & Gilpin.
This classic of the English countryside, . first published in 1908, is a favourite with readers of all ages. As the late Margery Fisher wrote, 'Adults are sadly aware of the figure of Grahame himself, languishing in a city office and longing for the river: children respond to the fun, the anarchy of Toad and the entrancing detail as Grahame's son Alastair must have done when he listened to the bedside stories that became a book. ' The author invited Arthur Rackham to illustrate his book, but Rackham said he was too busy - a decision he was happily able to reconsider in 1936 when he was approached by the American publisher of the Limited Editions Club. The project, which he carried out with love and great care for the authenticity of detail, was his last: the drawings appeared first in the USA in 1939 and in Britian in 1950.
First published in 1842, Robert Browning's poetic version of the legend about the lost children of Hamelin is sub-titled 'A Child's Story' and was originally intended only for the private enjoyment of Willie Macready, young son of the famous actor. Once in print, it became a perennial favourite with generations of children (and compilers of poetry anthologies for children!) Kate Greenaway's illustrations, engraved by her regular printer Edmund Evans, were first published in 1888 and have become as popular as the poem itself, being considered by John Ruskin to be her finest work.
First published in 1870-1 as a serial in GOOD WORKS FOR THE YOUNG, a magazine of Christian outlook, George MacDonald's fantasy is reguarded by his admirers as his finest novel. The story of the virtuous Princess Irene and the wicked goblins with heads as hard as stone has a strong moral overtone but is enjoyed by readers of all ages. The author said: 'I do not write for children, but for the child-like, whether of five, or fifty, or seventy-five'. Arthur Hughes, a follower of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, was a close friend of the author and provided the perfect illustrative accompaniment to his work.
Master storyteller Roald Dahl is by far the most popular children's writer of the late twentieth century, and The BFG (the Big Friendly Giant), recently adapted for the stage with great success, is set to become a claasic of its period (it was first published in 1982) This story of a vegetarian giant who disapproves of eating children has all the Dahl ingredients of humour, irreverence and verve that have made readers of countless youngsters. The humour is perfectly matched by Quentin Blake's irresistible drawing.
September 2011 Guest Editor David Almond: "I still remember the moment I pulled this book from my Christmas stocking. I was seduced straight away by Lotte Reiniger’s wonderful austere illustrations, by Green’s magical prose, and by Arthur himself, an ordinary-seeming kid who sets the miraculous in motion by pulling the sword from the stone in such an offhand way. Wondrous stuff soon follows: earth-shattering battles, glimpses of Heaven, damsels in distress, enchanted knights, dragons, love, desire, treachery and sin. Bloody accounts of limbs being hacked off sit side-by-side with haunting descriptions of magic and miracle. The language is heightened, as it should be, but it never impedes the progress of these wonderful old tales." - Please note that this edition is illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley.
This most romantic of fairy tales is found in many versions, and the story of the beautiful girl who falls into a long sleep, to be awakened by a lover, has been interpreted by some as an allegory of the spring revival of the earth after a long winter. Charles Seddon Evans, a schoolmaster turned publisher, retold the story specially for Arthur Rackham, who illustrated it with silhouette drawing as a companion volume to CINDERELLA, both first published in 1919 and now reissued in Everyman's Library.
Every child's bookshelf should start with a collection of nursery rhymes so that these fantastic and nonsensical verses (some so old their meaning is long forgotten) are among the first magical words to sound in a child's ear. This collection of over two hundred rhymes was assembled in 1903 with the family in mind ('Tradition in the nursery has acted as a severe editor'). and each page is illustrated each verse decorated, with the imcomparable drawing of Charles Robinson.
This story of two spoilt and lonely children, whose happiness is regained as they bring to life a neglected garden, has become the best-loved of all Mrs. Burnett's books, but it did not acquire universal popularity until long after its first publication in 1911 Although set in Yorkshire, it was inspired by the rose garden at Great Maytham Hall in Kent (which still flourishes) where its much-travelled author lived from 1898 to 1907. The story has many illustrators, bur none has surpassed Charles Robinson who first created in his pictures the romantic and mysterious atmosphere of Misselthwaite Manor and the locked, forgotten garden.
Although E. Nesbit regarded her poetry as her most important work, it is her children's books (written 'to keep the house going') that ensured her lasting fame and which are still enjoyed with such affection today. Her readers have their oen favourites, but the film version of THE RAILWAY CHILDREN, with Jenny Agutter as Roberta, the eldest daughter of the man unjustly sent to prison, and the Bernard Cribbins as the friendly railway porter, brought the book to a new generation of readers who love it for Roberta's courage and the satisfaction of the ending when her father is vindicated and restored to his family. The film is regularly shown on British Television.
The grandniece of Mark Twain is now remembered only for the last two books she wrote, DADDY-LONG-LEGS (1912) and its sequal DEAR ENEMY (1915). Both remain endearing stories that, as the critic Naomi Lewis says ' make rewarding reading'. Told in the form of letters, this modern version of the Cinderalla tale is an irresistible love-story of an orphan and her unknown benefactor.
This most beloved of all fairy tales is told in many versions and found in many different cultures - from the Italian CENERANTOLA to the Russian CHERNUSHKA For this edition, first published in 1919, Charles Sedon Evans, a schoolmaster turned publisher, used the features of the tale as told by Charles Perrault - the pumpkin coach the mice horses, the rat coachman, the lizard footmen and the glass slipper - but expanded it to a full-length story so as to offer Arthur Rackham maximum opportunity to illustrate every step of the drama with his exquisite silhouette drawings. This is one of the most beautiful and delightful children's book ever published.
From the Eastern folk tales that make up the vast collection known as THE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS certain stories - of Aladdin, Sindbad and Ali Baba - have become everlasting favourites with children and a magical ingredient of Christmas pantomine. First introduced to Europe in the early eighteenth century by the French orientalist, Antione Galland, who translated and bowdlerized the stories to suit contemporary taste, this edition presents the fourteen best-known tales selected from an English text of 1821. The illustrations are reproduced from a larger collection in 1899. William Heath Robinson then at the start of his career, was commissioned with four others and his drawings (much the best) reveal a gentle, romantic charm that has been forgotten in the success of his later, purely comic work.
Kipling began these stories in Vermont, to amuse his daughter when they were living in his wife's home town. The comic explanations, such as how the camel got his hump and how the whale got his throat, are complemented by the author's illustrations, with their extensive and ridiculous captions.
Edward Lear, the 20th child of a London stockbroker, entered the household of Lord Stanley as little more than a servant, but his sense of humour soon made him welcome above stairs and he began to amuse the children with comic drawings and rhymes. This book was first published in 1846.
Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales originally appeared in batches each Christmas in the mid-19th century, and Spink's English translation was first published in 1960. This edition has Heath Robinson's illustrations, dating from 1899.
Stevenson's great adventure story, set in the 18th century, was conceived in the Scottish Highlands, where the author and his 12-year-old stepson amused themselves by making a map that showed the location of buried treasure on an island. The illustrations first appeared in 1949.
First published in Germany in 1812, these tales were collected by the two brothers Grimm from neighbouring villages and spinning rooms, and include Hansel and Gretel, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Rumpelstiltskin. Arthur Rackham's illustrations were first published in 1900.
Aesop is believed to have lived in the sixth century B.C., a slave on the Greek island of Samos. His ability to teach lessons in morality through story has made his name synonymous with the genre of 'fable'. In the witty and entertaining tales attributed to him sly foxes, wicked wolves, industrious ants, and others, provide a commentary on human behaviour while the storyteller recommends the virtues of common sense and worldly wisdom. The Fables had already been popular for centuries before Roger L'Estrange published a new English translation in 1692, with the declared intention of making a comprehensive selection addressed to children. Everyman reprints his text, together with Stephen Gooden's superb engravings which were first published in 1936 in a limited edition.
Barrie's classic tale of the boy who wouldn't grow up. It started life as a series of stories made up for the five Llewelyn Davies boys, who were virtually adopted by Barrie after being orphaned. This edition has F.D. Bedford's illustrations, which first appeared in the author's own day.
Stevenson's gift as an author and poet for children lay partly in his lack of condescension towards them, and he preserved a large element of the child in his own personality. He wrote many of these poems whilst ill in bed, and the illustrations were first published shortly after his death.
Lewis Carroll's two Alice stories are renowned for their fantastic plots and use of nonsense. The edition, containing both stories, features John Tenniel's original illustrations.