The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, published 1993. I was and am a big fan of the husband and wife illustrating team, Leo and Diane Dillon. I have a number of their books and would be hard pressed to pick a favorite. Nancy Willard crafts a sweet rhyming tale of the lovely apprentice Sylvia who apprentices with the magician Tottibo.
One of the best things about older children’s books is that in the copyright information they frequently include information about the illustrations:
“The full page illustrations were in watercolor, on Arches hot press watercolor paper mounted on board. The spot illustrations were in watercolor on Strathmore three-ply kid finish bristol board.
The geometric symbol worn by the sorcerer was devised by the artists bc of its meaning: the triangle stands for creative intellect, and the circle represents eternity- combined, they signify endless creativity.”
“Mount Dragon Eye’s? It’s very near,
yet no one travels it for fear
of beasts that mutter, huff, and blow,
round the magician Tottibo.
Beyond his house the earth looks dead.
‘Take heart, you beasts and bugs,’ he said.
‘Let spiders sing and panthers play.
My new apprentice comes today!'”
underneath the dust jacket, the front cover is embossed (I love details like this).Sylvia’s three wheeled trike. In the past women when women wore heavy skirts it was easier for them to ride bikes like this.
Sylvia’s clogs are on point.
“Mount Dragon Eyes? It’s very near,
and every day not far from here,
round a high stool with silver feet,
those who would study magic meet
The gryphons dance, the dragons doze;
they all admire each other’s clothes
while Sylvia teaches them to say
the spell she worked out yesterday
for turning pencils into pails
and failures into fairy tales.”