Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Vintage die-cut shape books

I don’t know a great deal about these vintage shape books but have included them here because they are so pretty. Ernest Nister, Raphael Tuck and Dean and Sons published several of these in the 19th century but I think these were probably produced around 1920. They are all undated so it's difficult to be certain. There are no publication details on the first two books but I think they could be part of the Valentine Toy Books Series.  The others were all published by Alf Cooke again undated c1920/30.


This one is called "Dreamland" the story is told in rhyme and begins like this;
Golden hair, eyes twinkly blue, pretty, pretty little Prue, to the meadow runs to play with her dolls alone one day. All among the daisies white sits this merry little sprite, making daisy chains you see just as busy as can be. And when the sun gets oh so hot Prue runs to find a shady spot, and very soon is fast asleep whilst all around her fairies creep. And as the fairy queen draws near she cries, "Oh! What a little dear. Let's send her dreams of far off lands", then off they skip with beckoning hands!

Illustrated with small red and black drawings. No author or illustrators name given.




This one is called "Mary's holiday" and it begins like this;

Hurrah! Cried little Mary, Hurrah! She cried again I'm starting in a minute for the very next train. I've packed my little red frock I've packed my hats all three, and all my shoes and stockings as you can plainly see. The station that I go from is just about a mile, it’s down a lane and through a field and then across a stile. I know the engine driver well, a most important man, he sometimes shows me lots of things that only drivers can. I love to know about the trains and signals down the line, and to watch the great express I think is jolly fine. 


The book on the left is Red Riding Hood and the pretty one on the right is Little Mary May.

Can you guess the sailors name? 
The story is told in rhyme - this is verse two
In great alarm, and much surprised to masts and ropes he clung, as overboard with mighty splash his oars and things were flung. At length, as still the boat flew on, our sailor bold espied a flying fish, upon whose back he took this curious ride.


Now for the fun part;

Ahoy me hearties here’s what to do, guess his name – now here’s a clue! (1980s pop singer)
Follow this blog and leave a note to win this sailor all afloat!
The closest name shall win the treasure – to send the book will be ‘me pleasure.

Rules: Once you have guessed the sailor's name please include your answer (and your name, email or blog address so that I can contact you if you win) in the comment box. Follow this blog - by clicking on the followers link at right. You can enter as many times as you like. This is an international giveaway. Current followers welcome to enter. In the event of more than one correct answer the first one out of the hat will win the giveaway.

One book giveaway  (the book with the sailor on the cover) value £50.00. Giveaway closes 14th September 2011 - winner will be notified on the 15th September and book shipped same day. Giveaway now closed, thank you for your interest.

All the books featured in this post are now sold, thank you for your interest.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

The illustrations of Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone


I’ve been busy cataloguing a collection of books illustrated by Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone. The cataloguing process is taking far longer than it should because I keep stopping to ooh and ahh over the beautiful illustrations.

Janet and Anne are probably best remembered for their illustrations for Dodie Smith’s classic novel, The hundred and one Dalmatians, but they illustrated literally dozens if not hundreds of books.

The twins worked on every picture together, passing illustrations backwards and forwards until both were satisfied, Janet concentrated on animals while Anne was the expert on period costume. Early commissions included editions of Heidi, Gulliver’s Travels and the water babies, all for the Heirloom Library.

Janet and Anne were also involved in a number of programmes for television these included Charlie the Cat, the Flower Pot Men, Tai Lu, Andy Pandy and the adventures of the cowboy, Ross Salmon. All of these produced spin-off publications.


Other early work included new illustrations for Struwwelpeter (1950), Enid Blyton’s Tales of Ancient Greece (1951), and This Land of Kings written by Ida Foulis (1954). Their best known book, The Hundred and One Dalmatians, appeared two years later. It might be expected that this would have brought them fame and fortune. But it did neither. In return for sixty drawings they received the unbelievable sum of £100 and virtually no artistic credit. 

Other markets for illustrators of children’s books at that time were the weekly comics, such as Girl, Eagle, Parent and Robin. They also worked on designs for Christmas cards and illustrated a number of large, brightly coloured gift books, mainly published by Dean. Their full-page illustrations surround nursery rhymes, fairy tales or children's prayers and were very reminiscent of artists like Hilda Boswell.


Janet died in an accident in 1979, although devastated by the loss, Anne still found the strength to continue alone. She learned how to draw the animals that Janet specialised in, becoming so adept that she was elected a Member of the Society of Equestrian Artists. Anne continued to work until two days before her own death on the 25th May, 1998.

Update July 2015; Several people have asked for a list of books illustrated by Janet & Anne, so I've included a list here.   There are around 200 books listed, but if you know of others, please leave a comment, and I will update the list.



I adore these illustrations and would be interested to hear what others think about them. Please feel free to leave a comment - and pop back to read my replies.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Added Value: Things found in books part eight


I’m not sure what this is! It measures 4.5 x 2.5” and is on a piece of thick paper with embossed figures. The ‘dancing ladies’ remind me of a Kate Greenaway illustration. 


Found in Sydney's chums by H. F. Gethen with illustrations by Gordon Browne. Published by Blackie & Son Limited c1920.

What is it? Could it be a wallpaper sample? Any ideas? 

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Sand Horse by Ann Turnbull with illustrations by Michael Foreman


The horse began to appear: muscles and hooves, raised head and rippling mane. The beach filled up with people. They stopped and admired the sand horse. They threw money, and the coins chinked in the artist’s hat.

The Sand Horse Pg. 7
By Ann Turnbull with illustrations by Michael Foreman

The Sand Horse is now sold, thanks for looking

Monday, 22 August 2011

Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway tree found!

We recently visited an antique fair held in the grounds of the Larmer Tree, situated near Tollard Royal in Wiltshire the garden takes its name from a tree, possibly a Wych-elm that stood on the site as early as the 10th century. King John was reputed to have hunted in the area and tradition states he met with his huntsmen under the branches of the Larmer Tree. The original tree was still living in 1894, but was eventually replaced with an oak. The gardens were created by General Pitt Rivers as pleasure grounds for ‘public enlightenment and entertainment', but were closed following the General’s death in 1900. In 1991 Michael Pitt Rivers, the General’s grandson set about restoring the gardens and they were reopened to the public in 1995.

After a walk around the fair and a cream tea at the Lodge tearooms we decided to explore the grounds. We were anticipating manicured lawns and beautiful flower gardens but were a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful place for a picnic and a stroll but lots of work is still needed to bring it back to its former glory.

At this point you are probably wondering what Enid Blyton has to do with any of this, but don’t worry, all is about to be revealed…

As you may know my husband is a keen photographer and never leaves home without a camera. I’ve also got into the habit of taking a camera everywhere and spend a lot of time trying to find something different to photograph. Terry always notices things before me, so I tend to look for ‘hidden gems’ and that was how I happened to notice a tiny little door set into the trunk of a tree!

Yes, Honestly!!


To say I could not believe my eyes would be an understatement! Had we wandered across Enid Blyton’s Enchanted Wood where the trees, “a darker green than usual”, whisper their secrets? Was this the Magic Faraway tree inhabited by fairy-folk and laden with fruit of all kinds from acorns to lemons? Would Moon-Face, Silky and old deaf Saucepan Man suddenly appear?  As Jo would say… "What will Dick think when we tell him about the Enchanted Wood and the Faraway tree?”


What we didn't know until later is that not one but ten of these little doors exist. Created by local artist Simon Sinkinson in remembrance of ten people who left their mark on the gardens, or the music festivals now held in the grounds. These Luminaries include King John, Thomas Hardy, Michael Pitt-Rivers, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Martyn Bennett, Dave Newman and Andy Banwell.



We are planning another trip to the Larmer tree in the hope of finding the rest of the miniature doors, a tiny key and a bottle labelled “drink me” – OK I know that’s from Alice in Wonderland but sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.

The magic faraway tree book featured in this post is now sold, thank you for your interest.


Have you read The magic faraway Tree?

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Two nice things happened to me today -


the first was this email;

Thank you for the quick response to my order for the book 'Bunkle Began It'.  I was most surprised it arrived so promptly and delighted with the service that you provided. I think you might be interested to know why I wanted the book. I am 75 years old and was given the very same edition of the book when I was 10 years old by my Godmother.  Unfortunately when I was in my young teens I was fostered and the house was extremely damp (no central heating in those days!) and my beloved book was thrown away covered in mildew.  I have thought about 'Bunkle' many, many times and hunted in second-hand bookshops, etc, for it over the years.  Then my grandchildren suggested I should try your Site - so a happy ending to the story, eh?  Which leaves me to say thank you once again.  It feels like a re-union with a very old but dear friend.

Then one of the dealers at our local book fair gave me a beautifully wrapped present – and it’s not even my birthday!

Sandra rang me a few days ago to say she had purchased a collection of children's books and to ask if I would be interested in any of them. It was a fairly standard collection but one title really stood out - Charlie the cat - it's more than 50 years since I last saw it but memories came flooding back.

I knew without a shadow of doubt that the cover illustration was a black and white cat holding a blue and white milk jug (my mum had the same milk jug when I was little).

When I got up this morning I knew I would be buying Charlie the cat for my own collection, but to be given it as a present was just lovely. As the email above says - It feels like a re-union with a very old but dear friend!

Thank you Sandra, you made my day!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Added Value: Things found in books part seven




Cute birthday card manufactured by A. M. Davis & Co. Quality Cards, London. Undated.

All kinds of good times from morning till night, so the day will just ring with your shouts of delight!

Message reads - to King (great name!) wishing you a very happy birthday from A. Wren.



Found in The playbox annual 1944
The Playbox annual & card featured here are now sold, thank you for your interest.

If you enjoy old bookmarks a visit to Forgotten Bookmarks is a must

How about you? What do you use as a bookmark? Have you ever found a lost bookmark?
Thank you to Donna at ‘Believe in Yourself’ for her feature on March House Books. Donna’s post begins - A while ago while surfing the net, I ran across the most intriguing blog I’ve found in a long time.  Donna has a wonderful blog with a loyal following so I am thrilled to be a part of it. Thank you, Donna.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

If you love them, let them go


If you enjoy children’s books you will love this post by ‘Nobody Jones’ at  Did you ever stop and forget to start again?  I urge you to visit and read it in its entirety. You will be glad you did! 

Space, place, shelf; all of these get too tight, too full, too crammed left-right-and-up-side-down with books. You lose titles in the madness, the glorious madness of titles that say nothing to the stranger but say everything to you; the title which made you realise you could love somebody, the title which made you weep, the title which you read curled tiny-small underneath the duvet clutching a torch and praying that your parents wouldn’t discover you were still awake.

But sometimes you have to let them go.

You realise that it’s not the book, it’s the memory.

And then, maybe fifteen or twenty years later, there’s that wonderful moment where you stop and you look and you see the photograph of your bookcase as a child and you see the title, you see the spine of a Follyfoot or the edge of a Bunty and you know. You want these books back in your life.


And you know what? You’re going to get them back.

You know what ‘Nobody Jones’ I think you and I are kindred spirits! 

The naughtiest girl again

Kathleen picked up her case and went out of the room. Joan ran after her and took hold of her arm. "Kathleen! Don't be an idiot! You just can't run away from school! It's impossible!" She shook of Joan's hand and ran down the passage. It wasn't a bit of good going after her. She had made up her mind, and nothing would stop her.

The Naughtiest girl again Pg. 105
By Enid Blyton

Now sold, thanks for looking.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Snug and Serena go to town illustrated by Katherine Wigglesworth

A Little Brown Mouse book by Alison Uttley



"Serena" cried Snug one day, as the two little field mice sat in a meadow, sunning their bright fur, and looking at the blue sky. "Serena, I've been thinking". "And what have you thought?" asked Serena, turning round from her perch on a dandelion flower and looking at her brother. "I've been thinking I would like to go and see Mrs. Town Mouse" said Snug.

So starts the story of Snug and Serena’s trip to town.



Mrs Town Mouse is surprised to find Snug and Serena at her door but being a kind-hearted mouse she invites them in and agrees they can stay for a while. She tells them there are a few rules that must be obeyed while living in a town house. First they must stay indoors till dark, they must watch out for the cats and the human beings; and they must never ever touch a mouse trap. 




“But where can we drink the dew and nibble flowers and play with the other field mice?” Asks Serena “Not here”, says the Town Mouse. “We have other joys. You shall dance on velvet carpets and frisk on cushions and lick a silver spoon and sleep in a fur coat, and hear music, too”.

Snug and Serena like all the fine things Mrs Town Mouse tells them about and decide to stay. But everything changes when Mrs Town Mouse introduces them to her thirteen new babies! From that moment on Snug and Serena feel more like slaves than house guests. “I didn't come here to be a nursemaid” grumbles Snug, as he tidies the passage and sweeps away the spiders. That night when Mr. and Mrs. Town Mouse are sleeping, Snug and Serena decide to return to the country.



They run towards home and on the way meet Mr. Toad walking with his head bent and his shoulders sagging. "Oh, Mr. Toad!" cry Snug and Serena. "Oh, my dear little Serena and Snug!" cried old Toad sobbing and wiping his eyes. "How good it is to see you I thought you had gone forever". 



Do you have a favourite book by Alison Uttley or one you would like me to feature?

Update July 2016: The featured book is now sold. March House books closed on my retirement in 2015, but I am still happily blogging here at March of Time Books. Your visits are always appreciated.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Pookie and the Swallows by Ivy L Wallace


I’ve just catalogued another beautiful Pookie book and wanted to share some of the illustrations with you.





This one is Pookie and the Swallows. If this is the first time you've come across Pookie you may not know that he is 'a little white rabbit with wings'.

In her introduction to the series Ivy Wallace explains the stories like this – Hello, everybody I’m Pookie, the rabbit with wings! Once upon a time my wings were little silly things. Everyone teased me about them, so I set out to seek my fortune. I had lots of adventures, then I got lost in a snowstorm – but Belinda saved me that cold winter’s night and kissed my wings. I live with Belinda now in Bluebell Wood and have lots of wonderful adventures. I do hope you enjoy reading this one!



In this story Belinda and Pookie watch the swallows building a nest under the eaves of their cottage. Soon there are eggs in the nest and not long after the chicks are born. Pookie has lots of fun with the chicks as they learn to fly and even looks after them now and again so the adult birds can have a rest. The story ends when the swallows fly off to Africa to escape the winter. Beautifully illustrated throughout.


Update July 2016: The featured book is now sold. March House books closed on my retirement in 2015, but I am still happily blogging here at March of Time Books. Your visits are always appreciated.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Added Value: Things found in books part six


Colourful book token - no date but I would guess 1950s? The illustration is by Gerald Parkinson and the design number is 49.  Does anyone collect old book tokens or is that a new collecting area yet to be discovered?



Found tucked inside this copy of The Chalet School reunion by E. M. Brent Dyer published in 1963.

How about you - what do you use as a bookmark? Have you ever found a forgotten bookmark?


The chalet school reunion is now sold, thank you for your interest.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Foxglove Tales

In the little whitewashed cottage with the thatched roof, and 1666 over the doorway, there once dwelt a lady. The cottage was the neatest, prettiest, best-kept house in those days, with clipped yew hedges, and violets, sweet-williams, periwinkles and cowslips growing in the little garden, among apple-trees and cherries. At the diamond-paned windows hung white lawn curtains, decked with dainty frills, all as clean as a new pin, yet no one had ever seen a servant about the place!

Foxglove tales Pg. 20
By Alison Uttley



Update July 2016: The featured book is now sold. March House books closed on my retirement in 2015, but I am still happily blogging here at March of Time Books. Your visits are always appreciated.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Book of the week - A child's day with photographic illustrations

I sang a song to Rosamond Rose only the wind in the twilight knows; I sang a song to Jeanetta Jennie, she flung from her window a silver penny;
I sang a song to Matilda May, she took to her heels, and ran away: I sang a song to Susannah Sue, she giggled the whole of the verses through;




But nevertheless, as sweet as I can, I'll sing a song to Elizabeth Ann - the same little Ann as there you see smiling as happy as happy can be.

And all that my song is meant to say is just what she did one long, long day, with her own little self to play with only, yet never once felt the least bit lonely.



A child's day written by Walter de la mare with photographic illustrations by Carine and Will Cadby.  A poem all about Elizabeth Ann and what she does in a day.

Second edition published in September 1915 by Constable London.

The official Walter de la Mare Website

A child's day is now sold, thank you for your interest.

My favourite Walter de la Mare poem is The Listeners
"Is there anybody there?" said the Traveller, knocking on the moonlit door; And his horse in the silence champed the grasses of the forest's ferny floor: And a bird flew up out of the turret, Above the Traveller's head and he smote upon the door again a second time; "Is there anybody there?" he said.

Other poetry books available on our website please visit here and here 

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Nunney Street Market and Fayre



The Times newspaper described the Nunney Street Market and Fayre as one of  “the village fĂȘtes and fayres to be seen at this summer" and having visited yesterday I can say I wholeheartedly agree!

Now in its 36th year, Nunney fayre with its live music, food and over 120 stalls attracted thousands of visitors.

The theme this year was Classic Motor Sports with a display of vintage and classic cars and an exhibition of trophies, photos and memorabilia. But the Classic cars were just a small part of the overall day and visitors were spoilt for choice.




Morris Men, Chester’s magical show time, live music and stalls selling everything from collectibles, plants, books, jewellery, candles, fashion, toys, food, gadgets and many other interesting and desirable things kept the crowds happy. There were also plenty of things to keep the children entertained including a funfair and bouncy castle.


There were arts and crafts in the village hall and a wonderful selection of sandwiches and cakes in the church.  Eating cake and drinking tea sitting in a church pew was quite a novel experience and one I hope to repeat next year.  

Nunney is a village on the border of Somerset and Wiltshire, to the East of the Mendip Hills near Frome. Dominated by its 14th century castle (now managed by English Heritage) it’s a village of pretty cottages, small streets, a stream and a beautiful old church.



The picturesque moated castle was built in the 1370s by Sir John de la Mere, a local knight who was beginning to enjoy royal favour. Extensively modernised in the late 16th century, the castle was held for the King during the Civil War, but quickly fell to Parliamentarian cannon in 1645: not until Christmas Day 1910, however, did the gun-damaged portion of the wall finally collapse.
If you are interested in finding out more about Nunney a visit to the Nunney Village Website is a good place to start.

There are lots of photographs of this years fayre at Terry Fisher Photography



Next year’s fayre will be held on the 4th August (2012) and I urge you to put the date in your diary and visit if you can.
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