Sunday, May 24, 2009

10 Books A Day: #35

The Golden Fleece...Padriac Colum...Macmillan Co.

The Children of Odin...Padriac Colum...Macmillan Co.

Stories of King Arthur...(Blanche Winder)...M. A. Donohue & Co.

Grimm's Fairy Tales...The Brothers Grimm (tr. by E. V. Lucas, Lucy Crane, and Marian Edwards)...Grosset & Dunlap

English Fairy Tales...(Joseph Jacobs)...Wordsworth Classics

Irish Fairy Tales...Joseph Jacobs...Wordsworth Classics

Alice in Wonderland & Through The Looking-Glass...Lewis Carroll...Grosset & Dunlap

The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll...Lewis Carroll...Vintage

The 13 Clocks...James Thurber...Simon & Schuster

Capt. Kidd's Cat...Robert Lawson...Little, Brown and Company
The Phantom Tollbooth...Norton Juster...Random House
Padriac Colum was an Irish author. I first read his books back in middle school, and his The Children of Odin was the first version of the Norse Myths I ever read. He was blessed with a fine line illustrator for both of these books, named Willy Pogany. Stories of King Arthur was the first version of the Matter of Britain I ever read; I read it in a Signet paperback in fifth grade. This old hardback version does not list the author, Blanche Winder, whose name I got when I found an old copy of the Signet book. Grimm's Fairy Tales was even before all that, because it was a family book; I don't remember a time we never had it. It is full of good, sometimes gripping pictures by Fritz Kredel. Giant poodles being fed live coals on a shovel, a man nailing up the severed head of a talking horse,weird little dwarves bargaining for lives--and the knight and woodwose from the frontispiece, shown above.
The fairy tale books are well served by their illustrators as well: Arthur Rackham for the English, John D. Batten for the Irish. I think the editor of the English tales was Joseph Jacobs, from his two books, but no author is listed. The Alice books are of course illustrated by John Tenniel, Lawson's book by Lawson himself, and the Thurber (which here is a library discard) by Marc Simont. After all this talent the Jules Feiffer pictures for The Phantom Tollbooth are almost embarrassing; i know he's supposed to be a brilliantly witty cartoonist, but it just looks like a cartoony mess, like he just doodled it while talking on the telephone. I would prefer stills from the obscure Chuck Jones' movie adaptation.
Book Count: 425.

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