Saturday, 28 July 2012

More on Enid Blyton and The Ginger Pop Shop

Further to last weeks post about Enid Blyton did anyone see Matt Baker and the Country File team on their visit to the Isle of Purbeck? I missed it completely!


Matt Baker, together with three local children and a dog called Taz played the parts of the Famous Five characters Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the dog. The five took a trip on a steam train to Corfe Castle station before exploring the picturesque village. The area around Corfe was home to Enid Blyton for many years, and the programme was made to mark the 70th anniversary of the ‘Famous Five’ books.

Reading about the Country File programme reminded me that the Famous Five adventure trail is taking place until the 5th November 2012. The trail is set around places that Enid Blyton knew well including Corfe Castle, the Swanage Railway and the Victorian Pier in Swanage. In keeping with the late author's books, fans follow six clues to solve a mystery.  Read more at  The Ginger Pop Shops website


We spent a lovely family day at Corfe last year you can read about it here; Five on Kirrin Island again or a day at Corfe Castle

Monday, 23 July 2012

Collecting Enid Blyton

Born in 1897 Enid Blyton is one of the best-selling children’s authors of all time. She began writing at an early age, but her first real success came in 1922 when J. Saville published child whispers, a slim volume of poems.


Her second book, Real Fairies published in 1923, appeared simultaneously in card covers and hardback. These early works are some of the most sought-after, but the "Famous Five" and "Adventure" series remain the most desirable.

During her lifetime, Enid Blyton wrote approximately 800 books and more than 4,500 short stories. Today her books are widely read and avidly collected, but that wasn’t always the case. Twenty years ago, a first edition five on a Treasure Island in the original dust jacket could be bought for just a few pounds but now costs somewhere in the region of two to three thousand pounds.

The 24 volumes of the "Noddy Library" are fairly easy to find in reprint editions, but first editions in dust-jackets are much harder to find. Later editions were issued in glazed boards without dust-jackets. Much of Noddy’s success was down to the wonderful illustrations of Harmsen Van der Beek, and the various illustrators who continued the work after his death.

Enid Blyton's first full-length work of fiction was the adventures of the wishing chair (1937), and in 1939 the first of the Magic Faraway Tree stories, The enchanted wood, was published. These are also avidly collected and therefore hard to find. 

There are many other books of interest for the collector,  the secret seven, the five find-outers, the adventurous four, the Barney mysteries, St. Clare’s and Malory Towers to name just a few.





To find out more about Enid Blyton visit; The Enid Blyton Society

I'm a big fan of The Famous Five books and the Adventure series - do you have a favourite? Or maybe you don't like Enid Blyton at all - please feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

From Alice in Wonderland to Winnie the Pooh

A recent book buying trip turned-up lots and lots of lovely books. I thought you might like a quick rundown on some of them ...





Left to right; Lovely vintage copy of Alice's adventures in wonderland paperback published by Puffin Books, 1949. Alice through the looking glass hardcover published by Golden Pleasure Book, 1964. Alice's adventures in Wonderland Pop-Up book published by Macmillan, 1980. James Roger Diaz did the paper engineering and his pop-up (or should that be pop- down) showing Alice descending into the Rabbit-hole attached to a piece of thread is wonderful. Alice's adventures in Wonderland with superb illustrations by Helen Oxenbury published by Walker Books in 2002. Winner of both the Kate Greenaway medal and the Kurt Machler award. 




A child's garden of verses hardcover published by Harrap, 1953 with very pretty illustrations by Hilda Austin and Leonard Cotterhill. Badger's Bend the animal hotel published by Odhams Press, 1964.The idea of running an animal hotel come to young Tim after he moved to the country. At first, everything had been strange, and no wonder for Tim was a city boy; even the silence of the woods was alarming until, one day, Betsy, the girl-next-door, came into his life. Tim began to assist the local vet, and slowly but surely a love for animals was born. Dusty published by Thomas Nelson, 1960, early reader. Engines, Aunties and others by Rowland Emett. Published in 1943.  Steam trains. Not your hum-drum 8.15's but the more snuffling sort which go investigating branch lines and subside steamily at places called Snailbeach, Fumbling and Owlpen-for-Cheesewring. These are the Engines that almost always go back-to-front and never give one puff if two will do!

The Fairy book published in 1922. Mabel Lucie Attwell and Honor Appleton provided the six colour plates and numerous black-and-white drawings for this gorgeous book. The illustrations accompany favourite fairy tales including Cinderella, the three bears, Henny-Penny, Jack and the beanstalk, Tom Thumb, the little old woman and the snow Queen. All the colour plates are beautiful but my favourite is Little Red Riding Hood and the Boo Boos (elves) visiting ‘grandma’.





Flower fairies of the spring hardback with dust jacket published by Blackie in 1953. Once Upon a time a Janet and John book c1966. Tai-Lou talking is a wonderful little book published in 1952, illustrated by Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone Tai-Lu the Siamese cat visits a circus, saves a little boy from drowning, captures a gang of thieves and spends a day at Brighton! The Littlest one by Marion St John Adcock Webb is another sweet little book. A collection of poems, including through the prickle hedge, the Nugly little man, the hole in the curtain, the creaking stair, the magic door and the squeaky shoes, four colour plates by Margaret Tarrant.

From; the littlest one by Marion St John Adcock webb
There's Aunt Matilda's child'en, and they're playin' hide-an'-seek,
but they sez I mustn't join them 'cos I've got on shoes that squeak.
An' when you're playin' hidin' you must never make a sound,
or they'll creep along an' hear you, and you're certain to be found.
They said, "put on you slippers, come along, an' hide away."
But I said I'd keep my shoes on or I wouldn't go an' play.
So they've gone to play without me. They can jus' do what they choose.
'Cos I had them new this morning I shall sit an' wear my shoes!



Princess Pony Book No. 2 published in 963. Interesting collection of pony stories including - five for a ride by Bunty Martin, the maltase cat by Rudyard Kipling, jumping around the world by Pat Smythe, the phantom horseman by Verdi and a spot of mischief by Siegfried Sassoon. Red Ribbons and Mr Anders by Elizabeth Wilton, 1970.  A small town in Denmark is the setting for this story; a town famous for the storks which come each spring to their rooftop nests. This year, however, the storks have not returned - and the townsfolk link their non-appearance with the fact that there is an extremely large number of stray cats in the town.Winnie-The-Pooh a reprint from 1973. I just had to include this so that I could share the picture of Christopher Robin dragging Winnie the Pooh down the stairs. I've always loved the Ernest Shepard  illustrations, and this is one of my favourites.

This quick run down ended up being rather long - I hope I've not outstayed my welcome. Thanks so much for visiting.

Update July 2016
: March House books closed on my retirement in 2015, but I do still blog here at March of Time Books and always appreciate your visit. 

Saturday, 14 July 2012

A thank you to the Independent Booksellers' Network

...for this recent post on the Ibooknet Blog;

Ibooknet member Barbara of March House Books has had her book blog listed in Tesco's Top 10 kids' book blogs

Of Barbara's blog they say: 
This beautiful blog is brimming with stunning illustrations that make it easy to lose an hour scrolling through. Bobby, the blogger, is a book dealer who specialises in vintage illustrations. She treats us to the gorgeous images from 1920s tales of little girls going to finishing school or exerts from Cecil Aldin’s 1905 “A Gay Dog”. 

We're not surprised as March House Books Blog is one of the prettiest blogs around. Also listed are the inspirational Playing by the Book and An Awfully Big Blog Adventure, which is the joint effort of some wonderful children's authors.


Ibooknet or The Independent Booksellers’ Network, is a co-operative of British and Irish sellers of used, collectable and rare books. Catherine Hawley, a member of Ibooknet and author of the above post, sells rare, used and out-of-print books to academics, libraries and collectors at CL Hawley Books. Catherine's  blog is Juxtabook and you can find her on Twitter at @Juxtabook 

Friday, 13 July 2012

Book of the week - A fairy tale by Mabel Lucie Attwell

Manty is the heroine of this delightful tale written and illustrated by Mabel Lucie Attwell. A rhyming story published by BB c1949.

The first nice thing to happen began with Mrs Duck, she asked them into breakfast - that was a piece of luck.

Breakfast done, they said "Good-bye" then wandered far and wide. Then they met a tall Giraffe, with Penguin by his side. "We're looking for adventure," cried Manty happ-i-ly! "What a very funny thing," said Penguin "so are we!" 

They wandered on together 'til Penguin shouted "Look!" There they saw quite close to them, a most unhappy cook! Crying for the apple pies she's made for master's tea. Sailor men had captured them and carried them to sea.

"Come!" cried Manty "after them - we'll find those apple pies." Then they saw an aeroplane - it came down from the skies. And to the coast it took them - Giraffe, a bit too tall, had to sit upon the roof - good thing he did not fall.

"Something wrong!" the airman said, such a splendid fellow. Down they came by parachute - Manty came by 'brella. 

Off they went by submarine - Giraffe was periscope - "We'll soon find those pies" cried Manty, full of hope.

I broke my own rule when buying this adorable book.
My rule? Don’t buy books repaired with TapeBut how could I resist? Anyway; the tape is only on the cover and spine edge (that’s me making excuses to myself!)

I made an offer. The bookseller promptly refused. I explained my rule about not buying books with tape repairs, and he explained his rule about not reducing his prices! So I walked away only to walk right back! We talked some more, and I ended up paying the asking price. I'm such a push over where books are involved!

I’ve come to the conclusion the tape really doesn’t matter as the illustrations are so enchanting. I especially like the Boo Boos (Mabel Lucie Attwell's name for pixies) and the little white dog.



This is such a fragile book, there can’t be that many around, so I think I made the right decision. But what about you would you have resisted?

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Tove Jansson

Tove (Christened Marinka) Jansson (1914-2001) is probably best known as the creator of the extraordinary world of the Moomins. Tove was born in the Finish Capital, Helsinki, the daughter of the Swedish illustrator Signe Hammarsten Jansson and the sculptor Viktor Jansson. Tove was the first of three children her brother, Per, was born in 1920, and her second brother, Lars, in 1926. The children enjoyed a happy and secure upbringing; their Mother and Father were both fun-loving people who enjoyed giving parties for their artist friends. Tove grew up knowing she wanted to become an artist and after studying art in Stockholm and Helsinki, she went on to Paris where she attended both the Ecole d'Adrien Holy, and the Ecole des Beaux Arts. 


During the late 1920s, Tove began working as a cartoonist and illustrator for the magazine, Garn. She continued to contribute to the magazine for the next 25 years, during which time she also worked for the magazine, Ny Tid. During the late 1930s and early 1940s, Tove was considered to be one of the leading young artists in Finland, and her paintings began to appear in many exhibitions. She also had many showings of her own and her second exhibition in 1946, at the Bäcksbacka gallery, was a commercial success, and her works received critical acclaim. She also executed a number of important artistic commissions, including the frescos on the basement walls of Helsinki's City Hall, church altarpieces, a mural for the Town Hall at Hamina and paintings for the Union Bank of Finland.

In 1933, her first picture book 'Sara Och Pelle Och Neckens Blackfiskar' was published under the pen-name Vera Haij. Her short story Smatrollen Och Den Stora Oversvamningen (The little trolls and the great flood), begun in 1939, was published in 1945 under her own name. Kometjakten (Comet in Moominland) published in 1946 was Tove's first full-length 'Moomin' book, and this was followed in 1948 by Trolkarlen's Hatt translated into English in 1950 as Finn Family Moomintroll. This soon became an international bestseller and in 1953, the Moomintrolls reached an ever wider audience when Tove was commissioned to produce a regular 'Moomin' comic. 

At the centre of the 'Moomin' family is Moominmamma, based on Tove's own mother, she is the traditional loving mother figure who rarely gets upset and takes even the most distressing circumstances (such as the arrival of a comet) in her stride. Her husband, Moominpappa, is a rather self-absorbed dreamer who is often engaged in writing his memoirs and is usually to be found wearing a top-hat. Moomintroll their young son is the main character in many of the stories. Other key characters include Moomintroll's best friend, Snufkin, an adventurer who lives in a tent and plays a harmonica, Little My who is determined and fiercely independent and so tiny that she fits easily into a pocket; and the Snork Maiden who looks exactly like Moomintroll except that she has a fringe.  
The 'Moomins' were inspired by stories of trolls told to Tove as a child and Moominvalley owes much of its rugged terrain to the coastline and tiny islands of the Gulf of Finland. The Jansson children enjoyed many happy summer holidays on a tiny island south of Porvoo and years later those holidays would play a large part in the 'Moomin' tales. 

In addition to her own books, Tove also illustrated Swedish translations of other classics such as J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and Lewis Carroll's the hunting of the Snark. Tove's artistic career was long and varied, but it is as the creator of the 'Moomins' that she is internationally known. The stories have been translated into more than 30 languages, and been dramatised for theatre, opera, film, radio and television.

The Dumpy Books

The Dumpy books are a series of small-format books, originally published by Grant Richards and later by Chatto and Windus.  Helen Bannerman's Little Black Sambo is the fourth title in the series. Grant Richards also published The Larger Dumpy Books for Children.

Dumpy Books 1897 - 1907

No. 1 The Flamp, the Ameliorator and the schoolboy's apprentice E. V. Lucas (Grant Richards, 1897)
No. 2 Mrs Turner's Cautionary Stories (Grant Richards, 1897)
No. 3 The bad family and other stories by Mrs Fenwick (Grant Richards, 1899)
No. 4 The story of Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman (Grant Richards, 1899)
No. 5 The bountiful lady by Thomas Cobb (Grant Richards, 1900)
No. 6 A cat book by E. V. Lucas (illustrated by H. Officer Smith) (Grant Richards, 1901)
No. 7 A flower book by Eden Coybee (illustrated by Nellie Benson) Grant Richards, 1901)
No. 8 The pink knight by J. R. Monsell (illustrated by the author) (Grant Richards, 1901)
No. 9 The little clown by Thomas Cobb (Grant Richards, 1901)
No. 10 A horse book by Mary Tourtel (Grant Richards, 1901)
No. 11 Little people an alphabet by T. W. H. Crosland (Grant Richards, 1901)
No. 12 A dog book by Ethel Bicknell (illustrated by C. Moore Park) (Grant Richards, 1902)
No. 13 The adventures of Samuel and Selina by Jean C. Archer (Grant Richards, 1902)
No. 14 The little lost girl by Eleanor Raper (Grant Richards, 1902)
No. 15 Dollies by Richard Hunter (illustrated by Ruth Cobb) (Grant Richards, 1902)
No 16 The bad Mrs. Giner by Honor C. Appleton (illustrated by the author) (Grant Richards, 1902)
No 17 Peter Piper's practical principles (Grant Richards, 1902)
No. 18 The Little White Barbara (Grant Richards, 1902)
No. 19 Japanese Dumpy (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 20 Towlocks and his wooden horse Alice Appleton & Honor C. Appleton (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 21 The three little foxes by Mary Tourtel (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 22 The old man's bag by T. W. H. Crosland (illustrated by J. R. Monsell) (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 23 The three goblins by M. G. Taggart (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 24 Dumpy proverbs by Honor C. Appleton (illustrated by the author) (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 25 More dollies by Richard Hunter (illustrated by Ruth Cobb) (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 26 Little yellow Wang-Lo by M.C. Bell (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 27 Plain Jane (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 28 The sooty man (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 29 Fishy Winkle by Jean Archer (illustrated by the author) (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 30 Rosalind (Grant Richards, 1904)
No. 31 Sammy and the Snarliwink (Grant Richards, 1904)
No. 32 The motor car Dumpy book T. W. H. Crosland & J. R. Monsell (Grant Richards, 1904)
No. 33 Irene's Christmas party by Richard Hunter & Ruth Cobb (Grant Richards, 1904)
No. 34 The Little Soldier Book (Jessie Pope 1907)
No. 35 A Dutch Doll’s Ditties (C. Aubrey Moore 1907)
No. 36 Ten Little Nigger Boys (Nora Case 1907)
No. 37 Humpty Dumpty’s Little Son (Helen Reid Cross 1907)
No. 38 Simple Simon (Helen Reid Cross 1907)
No. 39 The Little Frenchman (Coybee 1908)
No. 40 The Story of an Irish Potato (Schofield 1908)

Two further titles;



1.  The Coronation dumpy book pictures by Patten Wilson text by T.W.H.Crosland (1902)
1a. The Royal Dumpy (c1902)

I would like to thank Carol Exton for the following information;

As well as the pale red Coronation Dumpy, which you added at the bottom of your write up, there is also The Royal Dumpy which is dark blue. Exactly the same text and drawings inside. No date, but mine has an inscription dated 1908. As King George Vll 's coronation was 1901, it makes sense that these books were published around 1902 but neither book state a date. 
They are a delight to read particularly as the poetry and prose are so awfully bad!! 

Carol goes on to say

Hi Barbara, I'm happy for the photos to be added to your website. Any sharing of information is helpful. Someone might reply with more background confirming dates or explaining why two books with the same content have different titles and covers. 
I think they are really special as old quaint children's books, but would be unpublishable today. The writing is truly terrible. An example is the poetry from page 12: 
" No matter how pleasant and balmy the gales
We always feel lonely without the Prince of Wales."

Sunday Dumpy 

1. Daniel in the Lion's Den 1903
2. Joseph and his Brethren 1904

With thanks to Carol Exton for the extra information and list of titles.


The Larger Dumpy Books for Children. Large 8vo, grey cloth, gilt, originally priced at 2/6. Approximately 145 pages.

I. The Six Inch Admiral by George A. Best illustrated from (50) photographs by C. H. Park

II. Holidays and Happy Days by E. Florence Mason and Hamish Hendry. 24 colour illustrations by E. Florence Mason.

III. Pillow Stories by S. L. Heward and Gertrude M. Bradley illustrated

IV. About Faires and Other Facts by Maud Stawell 4 black and white illustrations by Eleanor March

V. Baby Jane’s Mission by Reginald Parnell with 50 illustrations

VI. The Rose and the Ring or the History of Prince Giglio and Prince Bulbo (a fireside pantomime for great and small children) by W. M. Thackeray. 50 illustrations

VII. Merry Mr. Punch by Gertrude M. Bradley and Hamish Hendry. 24 colour illustrations by Gertrude M. Bradley.


A note about the publisher Grant Richards

Grant Richards was born on the 21st October, 1872 in Patrick, Lanarkshire. He was the first of two children of Franklin and Emily Richards. His father taught at Glasgow and Oxford University, which led to Grant attending school at Langdale House in Oxford in 1880, and later the City of London School.

His uncle Grant Allen recognising Grant’s interest in print arranged for him to begin his career in a wholesale book company. Grant worked there until 1890 when his uncle obtained a new position for him on the Review of Reviews.

Grant formed his own publishing house in 1897 from offices at Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London. A year later, he married his first wife Elisina, and they had four children, Gerard, Geoffrey, Charles and Gioia. Grant and Elisina were divorced in 1914.

Grant published the first works of many authors, such as George Bernard Shaw, G. K. Chesterton and Arnold Bennett, all of whom later moved to larger publishing houses to further their careers. The company also produced volumes of collected works of Shakespeare and Jane Austen as well as World Classics and the Dumpy Books for children. 


Monday, 9 July 2012

Babar's Celesteville Games - the Olympics only more so!


Babar continues to be one of the best-loved children's book characters ever created, selling millions of copies worldwide. Cecile de Brunhoff first told her children a story about a little elephant in 1931. The tale was related to their father, the painter Jean de Brunhoff, who created the familiar picture-books. The stories were written in French, but all were quickly translated and published in English. The first was L’Histoire de Babar (Paris, 1931: The story of Babar, New York, 1933). Jean de Brunhoff wrote only seven titles before he died. Shortly after the end of the Second World War, Brunhoff’s son Laurent found a publisher who supported his mission of continuing the stories of Babar. Laurent has gone on to provide more than thirty adventures for the elephant family.


Celestevill Games is the newest Babar book published by Abrams Books for young readers  Babar and his family are thrilled that Celesteville is hosting the Games! This is their chance to see the best athletes from all over the world compete and to meet new people from other countries. Everyone is wide-eyed as gymnasts fly through the air, divers make a splash, and bicyclists race to the finish line! Babar’s daughter, Flora, likes to watch the handsome pole-vaulter Cory, from the country of Mirza. One day the two meet in the park, and love soon follows. When Cory asks Flora to marry him, everyone comes together to help them have a magnificent Mirzi wedding.  

The Olympic Games only more so! The pictures of an elephant diving into a swimming pool are priceless! And gymnastics! Who would have thought that hippos were almost as good at the high bar as elephants? If you are a Babar fan, you’re sure to enjoy this delightful story. If Babar is new to you maybe now is a good time to get to know him.

If you would like to find out more about Babar, The Musées des Arts Décoratifs in Paris is currently holding an exhibition of all things Babar. The exhibition retraces the adventures of this hero of children’s literature since his creation in 1931. All the Babar books will be shown, with a selection of one hundred original drawings lent by prestigious institutions such as the Bibliothèque Nationale and the Morgan Library and the Mary Ryan Gallery in New York, and also private collectors. Read on

How about you? Are you a Babar fan or do you agree with the parents (see article in The Telegraph) who think Babar should be withdrawn from library shelves? 

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

A 'new' March Hare and some dates for your diary

While looking around for a new image to use on my compliments slips and address labels I stumbled on the work of Maria Moss. A couple of emails later and the March House Hare (above) was born. I'm going to keep the original hare as the logo on my website and blog but the new March Hare is already winging his way across the world on all recent parcels. I think he’s lovely and can’t wait to have the original framed and hung on the office wall. You can see more of Maria’s lovely work on eBay

There are just a few days left to pop along to the MacConnal-Mason Gallery in London to see an exhibition of paintings by Helen Bradley author of 'And Miss Carter wore pink' and 'In the beginning said Great Aunt Jane'. Bearing strong similarities to L. S. Lowry, the work of artist Helen Bradley depicts heart-warming scenes of factory workers and their families gathered together in villages on the outskirts of Manchester. Coming to painting in her sixties, she wanted to show her grandchildren what life was like when she was a child. The exhibition runs until the 10th July. 




The official Roald Dahl Day takes place every year on 13 September, on the birthday of the World's No. 1 Storyteller. Visit this website for gloriumptious opportunities galore, including the chance to win dream come true prizes.






Paddington Bear the movie. It was 1958 when Paddington first stole our hearts with his battered old suitcase and marmalade sandwiches. Now, a new generation is about to fall in love with the bear from "deepest darkest Peru". A film version has been announced, with actors such as Stephen Fry and Anthony Hopkins in the frame to voice Paddington. Producer David Heyman said: "He's universally-loved, treasured for his sense of fair play, and his perfect manners - and, of course, for his unintentional talent for comic chaos." It sounds like 'Paddington the movie' will be a lot of fun. Read more


I would love to know what you think of the 'new' March Hare, please leave a comment if you have the time.
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