Aida

retold by Leontyne Price, based on the opera by Giuseppe Verdi, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon Aida is the story of the beautiful Nubian (Ethiopian) princess who is captured by Egyptian soldiers and made a slave in the palace. She keeps her identity a secret, but her nobility, gentleness, and beauty shine so brightly…

Cupid and Psyche

Retold by M. Charlotte Craft. Illustrated by Kinuko Craft. I know everyone hates Valentines Day because it makes them feel horribly alone, but I can’t help but love it. Not because I’m married either.  I’ve always loved it,  even when I was single.  There’s so much candy! And, to be perfectly honest,  I love when…

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice~ illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon

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…

Wild Swans -lost masterpiece by Gordon Laite

“Gordon Laite’s breathtaking artwork for a Little Golden Book edition of the Andersen fairy tale was found recently in the Golden Books archive. Planned for a 1970 release but never published, this Little Golden Book is finally making its debut for today’s fairy tale fans! And it couldn’t be a lovelier retelling of the story…

Barry Moser’s Alice in Wonderland

“All in the golden afternoon…” For me, Alice in Wonderland is the quintessential summer book. I have a number of editions. Rackham’s glorious version- so hard to believe it was ever controversial. A Norton Critical Edition with Tennial’s original drawings. And Camille Rose Garcia’s delightful psychedelia. But Moser’s is not often seen and that it…

Sleeping Beauty Ballet

With the movie “Maleficent” due to be released May 30th, I got into a discussion about the different ways the “wicked” fairy has been portrayed in the fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty and it reminded me of this book floating around on my book shelf, “Behind the Scenes at the Ballet: Rehearsing and Performing The Sleeping Beauty.”….

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place

Thanks to Karl, I’ve discovered Jon Klassen’s delightful art. After checking out, “I Want My Hat Back” and “This is Not My Hat,” I found this series written by Maryrose Wood and illustrated by Klassen. I wish wholeheartedly these books had been written when I was a child. They combine so many of my favorite…

Dare Wright’s “Lona” ~part 3

Here is the last installment of Dare Wright’s “Lona.” I hope you enjoyed it and it inspires you to seek out her charming work. I can only hope to one day produced such lovely, subdued work.

Dare Wright’s “Lona” ~part1

I remember this book in the library when I was little. I’ve searched for it for years, but couldn’t find it for a price I was comfortable with. About a year ago my husband and I came across a copy in a little bookstore for $25 and snatched it up. Dare Wright was the author…

Sleepy Hollow by Arthur Rackham

The Headless Horseman in his Hessian uniform. “The more spectral elements of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” were likely based on German folktales concerning “The Wild Huntsman”, a ghoulish phantom that would chase interlopers through the woods at maddening speeds.”~Wikipeadia Interestingly, the Wild Huntsman is what’s left of the scandinavian/germanic Odin (Wotan), king of the…

Flapper Cinderella

Bonjour l’Automne! It’s Fall and that means it’s time for my favorite Autumn themed fairy tale: CInderella. I’ve posted other versions here and here but this one is particularly charming. Set in the 1920s, it stars a brunette bobbed Cinderella, fabulously dumb step-sisters, an alcoholic step-mother, and a very english looking prince. Illustrated by Roberto…

disney cinderella~ retta scott edition

this is another cinderella i remember from childhood. While i didn’t like it as much as gordon laite’s, i did like it better than the standard disney version of cindrella. for one thing, i liked the dress here much better. while i appreciate the animated cinderella’s dress now, when i was a child i found it a…

diamonds and toads~ gordon laite

I’ve always heard of this story as “diamonds and toads,” instead of the other way around. it’s the familiar poor girl with mean stepmother/stepsister scenario. i think you can guess who’s who from this scene. i love her think black wavy hair and the expression of her face is some of Gordon Laite’s best work….

sleeping beauty~ janet and anne grahame johnstone

I have Dean’s A Book of Fairy Tales illustrated by Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone. Unlike their fellow British children’s illustrators they’re not well known here in the U.S. which is a shame considering the high quality of their work. They generally worked on small to medium sized artist board in watercolor and gouache. Right…

giselle illustrations by maraja

i found “the Royal Book of Ballet” in a used book store. published in 1962, the illustrations are by Libico Maraja. he worked and was well known in post war europe. here is his website, which you’ll need babelfish for unless you read italian. a sampling of paintings from “Giselle…” his page layouts are bold…

snow white~ nancy ekholm burkert’s medieval marvel

published in 1972 nancy ekholm burkert’s “Snow White” is a marvel. inspired by medieval manuscripts and a pre-raphaelite obsession with detail, she used colored inks and tiny lines to create intricately detailed art. {right click and open in new page to enjoy in a much larger format.}there was a medieval revival in the 70s. from Rush to…

a tour of paris through the eyes of "Madeline."

i recently reread the “Madeline” books. they were just as adorable as i remember. as i studied ludwig bemelman’s charming color sketches of paris, i couldn’t help but daydream about visiting the city. some of the sites i was familiar with from films and novels, but others i’d never heard of. armed with a list…

swan lake by lizbeth zwerger

lisbeth zwerger’s Swan Lake {2002} is beautifully strange. delicate watercolors shift between impermanence and reality. from odette’s* swan headed glove to the impenetrable mists, we float in a world where dream logic reigns. i love the awkward transformation of the swan maidens. it’s ideas like this that set zwerger apart from her peers. never content…

mercer mayer’s "sleeping beauty"~

mercer mayer’s “sleeping beauty” {1984} is more than a little convoluted and while beautiful, one of his lesser works. the subtle pencil shading is gone and the colors appears straight out the the pan with next to no mixing. his solid draftsmanship has weakened and characters are often put together in unconvincing ways. still, some…

ivan bilibin ~vassilissa the beautiful and the witch baba yaga

i love ivan bilibin’s art. the stark outlines and gentle colors are lovely.  “my white, bright day.” “the red sun” “that is my servant, the dark night.” baba yaga and yes, mike mignola has spent the last decade paying “homage” to bilibin. i’m not being catty, i like mignola’s art. so vassilissa takes this flaming…

cinderella~ autumn queen

Cinderella is an autumn tale. Don’t believe me? Pumpkins. Okay, occasionally it’s a winter tale and the ball is actually a yule ball. Cinderella comes in decked in flowers which makes the party-goers believe she’s a fairy bc it’s the dead of winter. i.e.- “rashin’ coatie” (“coat of rushes” a scottish cinderella variant). But usually, it’s…

the sweetest fig~ book and recipe

Monsieur Bibot is a terrible man. a petty, cruel tyrant who relishes his work as a dentist and abuses his lovely little dog, Marcel. sweet marcel is too small to walk down the stairs but his master drags him down anyway. bibot is given two figs as payment by a poor woman. She tells him…

more tales to tremble by~ illustrated by gordon laite

published in 1968, “more tales to tremble by,” illustrated by gordan laite, is full of surprising creeps. although a children’s book, the selection of stories are anything but childike.  boasting stories such as, “the red lodge,” by h. russell wakefield and “the extra passenger,” by weird luminary august derluth, the stories are sure to frighten children and…

magic and mystery in the garden of abdul gasazi

i have a confession: i wasn’t always a chris van allsburg fan. “polar express” was my introduction to him and it left me as cold as the frozen snow on the cover. i found his art dull, heavy, too still.  and then i came across, “the garden of abdul gasazi.” the story was wonderfully weird…

mercer mayer’s "favorite tales from grimm" part 1.

as i’ve posted before, mercer mayer is one of my earliest and most lasting influences. with the beginning of autumn, now seems a fitting time to post his illustrations from “favorite tales from grimm.” this was his third and last book before his artistic decline began to set in. the pictures are highly detailed, exquisitely…

inspiration file~ st. george and the dragon

starting in 7th grade i ordered time-life’s enchanted world series. instead of starting “witches and wizards” they started me with “the fall of camelot”. my knights/arthurian craze had begun!in my mid teens i discovered trina schart hyman’s beautiful, “st. george and the dragon”.  taking it’s details from spencer’s “faerie queen” we are plunged into an england…

mercer mayer’s east of the sun & west of the moon

mercer’s mayer‘s “east of the sun & west of the moon” is a curious book. an amalgam of the scandinavian tale of the title & “the frog prince” plus some elemental mythology. i’m still confused why he didn’t call it “the frog prince” instead of “eswm“. it certainly offers a more satisfying telling of “fp”…

mercer mayer’s beauty & the beast

working on some new paintings which will be offered on etsy as well as two private commissions. in the meantime i wanted to share one of my favorite books when i was a kid, mercer & marianna mayer’s “beauty & the beast”. they were husband & wife at the time~ i believe they were married…

d’aulairie’s book of greek myths

taking a break from getting my paintings scanned in & printed for my etsy store. yes, it’s driving me crazy. painting i love, the digital fiddling to color correct them for print i don’t. now that I have a child I’ve been thinking a lot about the books that shaped my life. “D’Aulairie’s Book of…