Children's Book Illustrators

Category: What on Earth!?

If you're a regular reader, you already know that I am fascinated with books. I don't just like them. I don't just read them. I CONSUME THEM.

Because my memory is very poor, I can read them more than once and be content.

I really like children's book illustrators. Especially in some of the vintage books in here. They have this sense of style that is so...I don't know. Not being an illustrator, I can't describe it.

(Click on any photo to make it larger...)

I've been trying to decipher the signatures on some of these illustrations from our late 1800's edition of "Mother Goose."

E. Stuart Hardy, an illustrator from London, did this one below.

Can you recite the nursery rhymes that go with these drawings? How well do you know your Mother Goose? :)

p.s. No cheating by using the Internet!

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Tom, Tom, the Piper's son...


That's all I remember.

HI! I think the word you were looking for was...realistic. Today everything is so...ABSTACT. The old illustrations that you like so much are so realistic that they give very "human qualities" even to the animals. You can tell the Robin is a Robin, even tho he is dressed up in human clothing. You can tell that "Puss in Boots" is a cat, even though he is standing upright and dressed in a suit. The illustrations are also full of emotion. You can see the emotions at one glance...happiness, contentment, anger, fear, pride. seems like everything is so abstact and "phoney" and "de-humanized". I love old books also...childrens' and otherwise. I also have a collection of antique baby clothing. I made, by hand, most of my daughter's baby clothing and her dresses as she grew up. I wanted what my daughter be as she was to me. Each stitch, in every little garment, was made with love and fond memories of her. As soon as I found out I was pregnant with her, I took lessons to learn English Smocking and French Hand Sewing. I used to teach both for years, until I left the South and moved back home here to Illinois. It seems like some young mothers I know today don't give a fig about such things anymore. Today's babies look rediculous in their one-piece looking "space suits", if you ask me! My first grandchild, a beautiful little girl, was born, last March, to my second son and his wife. I made her a pink smocked dress and matching bonnet. The smocking is white and at every turn I added one tiny little white pearl. The outfit is gorgeous...even if I say so myself. It is unique and a one of a kind creation...just like my precious grandchild. My daughter-in-law obviously doesn't like it, or even appreciates it, for she's never had it on the baby or even taken a picture of her in it. It's too small now. About a week after I gave the dress to the baby, I was in the baby's room, and there, laying ON THE FLOOR in a corner, was the dress and bonnet. It was laying in a heap of discarded boxes and paper. I just couldn't believe it! Isn't anything SPECIAL anymore?! I had several woman at my workplace offer me $100.00 for that outfit and I wouldn't sell it. My daughter-in-law has had the baby's picture taken, professionally, every month on her birthdate and she is always in some "ratty" outfit from Walmart!!! More than just my feelings being hurt...I have just lost faith in our future and where we are all headed. I know alot of us are not going willingly and are literally being dragged along with everyone else. I don't like the world we live in today and I treasure just about anything old and REAL that I can get my hands on. Maybe that is why I too my home of choice...a 1912 Bungalow. Cheryll

Tom, Tom, the pipers son. Stole a pig and away he run.....The illustration of Three Girls Sliding on Ice??? Looks like 6 girls to me....POPS"30"

Is Number Three something like

"Pussy sits by the fire, Looking very fair...
In comes the little pup and asks her "Are you there? (Something something something)tell me how do you do?" "Thank you, thank you, little dog, I'm very well and you?"

I'm a little rusty on these.

The first one was a warning of some sort, because my mum used to waggle her finger at me when we said it. But I just remember the part where they are skating on the ice "all on a summer's day," which made little sense at all but was funny.

I think from the title of your picture that the second one is about Cock Robin, yes? And so, isn't that a song? We used to sing it as a song and I think it was a very gruesome one. *shudder*

I had a copy of Waterbabies with a similar style of illustration. I liked them because they were realistic, but still managed to convey the emotion of the story. If you can find a copy of the book, I think you would enjoy the illustrations.

Well, I'm embarrassed to admit that I only know one of the nursery rhymes---Tom Tom the Piper's son, stole a pig and away he run. The pig was eat and Tom was beat, and he went crying down the street...

I'm sure you've seen the Blanche Fisher Wright classic "The Real Mother Goose" which is, in my opinion, truly the REAL Mother Goose. This was my absolute favorite book as a child, and I don't doubt that it was a major influence on my taste in art and design as an adult.

What I find appealing about vintage illustration is the grace and economy of line. If you look at the children sliding on the ice, you'll see how few lines were used, and how much detail is suggested. That suggested, rather than represented, detail allows the drawings to have an almost cartoon-like simplicity that's easy on the eyes, while the brain thinks it's seeing texture and detail that isn't really there. Amazing!


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