Outing the Inner Child

I'm just back from Wellington where I delivered a paper at the Rita Angus symposium at Te Papa on Saturday. Jack has written a report on the day's events here but I'd prefer to turn my mind to other (less cerebral) things. On Sunday we spent a blissful day wandering around inner city Wellington browsing through second-hand book shops with frequent cafe stops along the way. Jack tends to make his way directly to the Classics and Literature shelves at Pegasus Books and Quilters while I always head straight for the children's section where I pull up a comfy chair and look for interesting picture books to add to my collection.

When I first moved to Auckland in 1991 I got a job working at the Dorothy Butler Bookshop in Ponsonby (it's still there now but with a different name). When I wasn't busy dealing with the demands of nouveau riche Ponsonby parents and their spoilt kids with pretentious names like Paloma and Salvador, I began to cultivate an interest in picture books - not just any old books mind you but the growing genre of illustrated books that are described as 'sophisticated'. These are the kind of books that don't really appeal to kids at all but seem to be more about the author and illustrator unashamedly indulging their inner child.

So continuing with the 'outing' theme of my first post here's a show-and-tell of a selection of faves from my secret stash of kids books.

It was the trilogy of Max stories by New Yorker Maira Kalman that first got me hooked - brilliant and crazy tales about an amiable but eccentric poet-dog who dreams of living in Paris.

Ooh-la-la (Max in Love) Maira Kalman, 1991

I've amassed a pile of books since then, both new and second-hand, and I wanted to give you a wee peek at some of the fabulous pictures.

Petrouchka retold by Vivian Werner, Illustrated by John Collier, 1992

And here's another version of Petrouchka from 1971 with gorgeous folk-art illustrations.

Petrouchka, Dorothy Eyre, illustrations Uta Glauber

Sticking with the 70s, how about this for a psychedelic ABC book:

The Alphabet: A Day-by-Day Learning Book, Carol Barker, 1973

As for this, there are just no words to describe how odd this story and its accompanying pictures are:

The Mousechildren and the Famous Collector, Warren Fine, Illustrated by Mercer Mayer, 1970

This one is pretty strange too:

Ratsmagic, Christopher Logue, Illustrated by Wayne Anderson, 1976

And a couple more lovelies:

The Witches of Venice, Beni Montresor, 1989

The Magic Chalk, Zinken Hopp, Illstrations Gian Berto Vanni, 1960

And two more pretties that I found in Wellington in the weekend:

Favourite Fairy Tales Told in Poland, Virginia Haviland, Illustrated Felix Hoffmann, 1963
(the first image is also from this book) - wouldn't you love to be called Princess Wonderface!

The Nightingale, Hans Andersen, Illustrated Jiri Behounek, 1971

Some of the real gems from my collection are currently out on loan but when they come back I'll do another show-and-tell for you.


Lies said…
O sweetest! What a fab collection!!! Right we would like to borrow too, only lets wait till Lieveke is 25 because she would not do those treasures justice!!!

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