Monday, 20 February 2017

Vintage Books from my Bookshelf: The High Hills a Brambly Hedge Story

Brambly Hedge is on the other side of the stream, across the field. If you can find it, and if you look very hard amongst the tangled roots and stems, you may even see a wisp of smoke from a small chimney, or through an open door, a steep flight of stairs deep within the trunk of a tree. For this is the home of the mice of Brambly Hedge - Jill Barklem

The High Hills Jill Barklem

It was the end of autumn, and the Voles in the High Hills were busy preparing for winter.  Gathering supplies in rocky terrain is no easy job and when they find their winter quilts eaten by moths, it’s the last straw. When Mr. Apple down in Brambly Hedge hears of their plight, he mounts a relief operation, and soon the weavers get busy making new blankets. Mr. Apple and a small party of mice plan to deliver the blankets before the really cold weather sets in, but when Wilfred Toadflax hears about it, he is eager to go along.  Wilfred is convinced there’s gold to be found in the High Hills, and he intends to be the one to discover it.

Lily and Flax were already hard at work

Lily and Flax were already hard at work when Wilfred arrived.
"Can I help Too?" asked Wilfred.  "That's kind of you, but not
just now," said Lily. "Why don't you find yourself a book?"
Wilfred went over to the bookcase. On a shelf, tucked between 
volumes on dye stuffs and weaves, he found a thick book 
called Daring Explores of Old Hedge Days. 

Wilfred sat entranced. The whirr of the spinning wheel
became the swish of eagles' wings, the clatter of the loom,
the sound of falling rock, and the drops of rain on window,
jewels from some forgotten cave. Could there be gold
in the hills beyond Brambly Hedge, he wondered.


The first part of the journey was easy.
Along the hedge, past Crabapple Cottage,
the Store Stump and Old Oak Palace. 


They walked through the  afternoon.By tea-time, it was
getting dark and cold. At last they saw a tiny light shining from
beneath an old hawthorn tree.  "Here we are," said
Mr. Apple. "Knock on the door, Wilfred". 



The following morning Wilfred begged to explore. 
Flax and Lily had to get back to work, but Mr. Apple
agreed he and Wilfred could stay a while. 


Mr. Apple watched as Wilfred pulled himself
up onto a narrow ledge and began scraping at the
rocks. "Don't be silly, Wilfred.  That's not gold.
Comedown at once." But Wilfred was stuck.
"Wait there" said Mr. Apple as he began to climb
the steep rocks.  The ledge was narrow and now an 
ominous mist was rising from the valley.


Mr. Apple was worried; he had no idea where they were,
and it looked as though they might have to spend the night
on the mountain. The next morning they were woken by the
sun shining. "It's a beautiful day," called Wilfred, peering
over the ledge, "and I can see a path down the mountain."




Soon Wilfred and Mr. Apple were back at home.
As Wilfred was telling them all about their adventures
Primrose Woodmouse asked if they found any gold.
 "No, only this silly old dust," said Wilfred. Flex and
Lily gasped. "Wilfred!" That's not dust. That's ....


The High Hills a Brambly Hedge Story by Jill Barklem Published by Collins in 1986.

One of a series of books recounting the adventures of the mice of Brambly Hedge. Others are The Secret Staircase, Spring, Summer, Sea Story, Autumn, Winter and Poppy’s Babies.


I love the illustrations in these books.  Do you like them? Have you read any of the stories?

62 comments:

  1. I haven't had the pleasure of reading these books yet, but I will. The illustrations take me back to Beatrice Potter and 'BB' with his little folk by the river, all faves of mine. Thanks for sharing and have a good week, hugs, Valerie

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    1. Hello Valerie, the Brambly Hedge books are well worth a read if you get the chance. The little grey men and The Forest of Boland Light Railway are two of my favourite ‘BB’ books. They truly are ‘stories for the young in heart’. Barbara x

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  2. I haven’t read these books, what a pity. The illustrations are so beautiful and a post like this to start the week brings joy.

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    1. I’m sure you would enjoy them. The illustrations alone make me want to pick them up again and again. Have a lovely week.

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  3. The illustrations are absolutely wonderful...
    They'd look lovely..framed..and hanging up my
    staircase...but then..l already have 4xmoonlight
    pics, 4xowl pics, 4xworking horses pics, and
    4xlove bird pics..! But, the detail and artwork in
    those illustrations are amazing! Sit and look at
    them for hours! :).

    The story though..l struggled with, l tried, l tried
    with two lemon teas...HeHe! God! Has not blessed me
    with any patience...so, l've been ogling over the
    illustrations!
    Think l've mentioned it before..I wish l could draw,
    amazing, only thing l'm able to draw....is money..out
    the bank. And, l'd wish l'd learnt to play the piano..
    Instead..l threw myself behind a drum kit...and never
    looked back..! Bless!

    But..l shall be running this post up and down..'like a
    barmaids apron'..during the course of the day! Lovely! :0).
    Oh! did you see...Author Dick Bruna, 89, died last Thurs...
    in Utrecht, Holland...creator of Miffy the rabbit...
    Loved Miffy...! :).

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    1. Hello Willie,
      I’m so pleased you enjoyed the illustrations. Sorry about the story, but I assure you it's lovely so any fault lies with me not with the author. I often see Brambly Hedge books in the charity shops, so I’m sure you could find one if you wanted to look at the pictures again (or you can just come back to my blog!) :-)

      It sounds as though you have an art gallery on your stairs, but I’m sure there would be room for one or two of these lovely pics.

      I wish I could draw too, but alas it’s not to be. I can’t play the drums either so I’m doubly blighted!

      I did read about Dick Bruna, really sad, but he will never be forgotten because of Miffy. xx

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    2. I come back to yours and everybody else's
      several times over the next few days Barbara..
      I don't follow via e~mail or any other way, l
      like to see the posts, comments etc...as there
      laid out in the Blog, with all it's surroundings
      on display, absorb the atmosphere of it all..If
      yer gonna do summat...do it properly! :).

      And, yes, l've paintings in the hall as well....
      Just a few Monet, Van Cough...(this throat)...
      But no Picasso's..he could only paint..not
      decorate...!!! :).

      HeHe! Bet your good at fiddling though...!
      Ciao for now...time for tea! :0).

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    3. Bless you for visiting, I always look forward to hearing from you. You make me laugh, make me think and cheer me up no end!

      Talk about fiddle – I can fiddle for England!

      Van Cough – love it! xx

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  4. I have not read or even heard of these books but what a lovely series. Those illustrations are stunning, aren't they? Thanks for the introduction!

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    1. Hello Beth Ann, the illustrations are amazing I could look at them all day. I love finding out about books I’ve not come across before, hope you do to. Enjoy the day, Barbara

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  5. I LOVE these series! I grew up seeing these develop and both figurines and books have enchanted us here in the USA for a long time. Don't you just want to jump into this little world for a day?

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    1. Same in the UK Anita, I often see the little figurines at antique's fairs and always admire them. I’m sure Brambly Hedge is just around the corner we just have to keep looking. I would enjoy inhabiting their world during daylight hours but there are far too many things looking for a snack after dark, so I would like to be back in my comfy bed by then. :-) Hugs, Barbara

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  6. Oh,Barbara! I read these to my godchildren.I love the blue and white china -like my grandmother had (and I have now!) We used to look for Brambly Hedge across the stream on our property- it is a tangly wood-with lots of wildflowers. ( I used to be on the look-out for a white rabbit in the parks I played in as a child -hoping to tumble into Wonderland). I still imagine that there is a Brambly Hedge somewhere in our woods. We have adorable little woodland mice I see from time to time. No white rabbits, yet! Love your blog!!!

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    1. Hello Colleen, your godchildren are very lucky to have you to read to them. I'm sure they will always remember it. These things have a way of lodging in our brains and staying with us throughout our lives. My lovely godmother sent books, but she lived too far away to read them to me.
      I wonder if you saw a blog post I did back in 2011 about a tiny door in the base of a tree? I was so surprised, I had to take a photo and then blog about it. this is the post

      http://marchhousebookscom.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/enid-blytons-magic-faraway-tree-found.html

      I’m sure Brambly Hedge is in your wood and also down the road from me. It's a case of believing, the same with Wonderland it’s there we just have to find it.
      Thank you for your always kind words about my blog. Big hugs Barbara x

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  7. Beautiful illustrations. Books loved by generations, I'm sure they'll be loved by generations to come. I'm not personally a collector of the figurines (if they'd been hedgehogs instead that would have been another matter) but my friends granddaughter who was first given a piece as a Christening gift has, aged five now, quite a wonderfull collection already.

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    1. Hi Tracy, that is such a nice idea for a Christening gift, plus there are all the books to collect so it could provide present ideas for a number of years.
      I know you love hedgehogs, and I must try to find a nice hedgehog book to feature on my blog one of these days. Have a good week, Barbara

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  8. Wondrous. I love these illustrations.

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    1. As do I Sandra. Thanks so much for coming over, Barbara.

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  9. I am absolutely stunned by the beautiful illustrations!

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  10. Hi Barbara,

    I have not read any of these books but the illustrations are absolutely gorgeous!

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    1. Hi Linda, I know they are lovely and it was a joy to share them.

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  11. I love these books and the illustrations are just lovely and so intricate,
    Sue xx

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  12. There is a small stirring when I look at the pictures that make me think I have came across them before but not the story. The illustrations themselves are beautiful!

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

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    1. You’ve probably seen them on Pinterest or somewhere like that Lainy. They are very popular and get shared often.

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  13. These books appeared when I was already grown-up, but I think my son had one or two of them from the library, or saw a TV series - was there a TV series? Beatrix Potter has already been mentioned, and in addition these enchanting illustrations remind me of The Wind in the Willows.

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    1. Hi Sue, I’m a little out of touch with children’s TV programmes these days, but I think there was an animated series called the enchanted world of Brambly hedge sometime in the 1990s. I’m not certain of that so please don’t quote me. :-)

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  14. I don't recall ever running across this series of books before, but I'm totally enchanted with the artwork! I'll agree with the Wind in the Willows and Beatrix Potter comparison. I'm afraid I'd be too distracted by the pictures to listen to the story, if being read to! I smiled seeing the name Wilfred. We have a couple of those in my family. :)

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    1. Hi Kelly, I always think Wilfred is a friendly sounding name and just perfect for a character in a children’s book. I can see the similarities with the Wind in the Willows and the Peter Rabbit stories too, perhaps Jill Barklem was thinking along those lines when she wrote these stories.

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  15. Dear Barbara these illustrations ate simply divine. Remind me a bit of Beatrix Potter's work. So glad you shared. Took me back in time. God bless.

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    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed them. I spend half my life in a previous time, and it’s always nice to have company. :-)

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  16. I love the opener. This just looks and sounds like such a great little book.
    Have a great day/evening.

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    1. It is a super book Sandra. Have a lovely rest of the week, Barbara

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  17. Oh, these books are perfect! The illustrations especially. Thank you for sharing, lovely Barbara 🖤

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    1. It was my pleasure Yvonne, thank you for taking the time to look and comment. Have a perfect end of the week. xx

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  18. Sounds like excellent books for growing age. And I just love the illustrations.

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  19. I don't know these books, but this one is lovely. I agree--beautiful illustrations.

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    1. Hello Theresa, thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and for your comment, I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post. Barbara

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  20. Hello Barbara, a really delightful post. I enjoyed seeing every illustration. I hadn't known about the Brambly Hedge stories.

    I'm always interested to know about the writers/illustrators behind the stories and found that Jill Barklem changed a misfortune into something happy and productive when she was 13. After an accident at that age, she was unable to take part in physical activities at school so she worked on developing her talents in writing and art.

    Cheers now and thank you for writing about these lovely stories :D)

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    1. Hello Sue,
      It was very remiss of me not to include something about Jill Barklem’s life. I had intended to do just that and then forgot all about it. I like to know some of the background and am very grateful to you for sharing what you found. Have a lovely weekend, Barbara

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    2. Barbara, you do a wonderful job of bringing all these vintage books to our notice. You whet the appetite to get to know these creative authors/illustrators and for that I thank you again for all your research :D)

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  21. Thanks so much for sharing these books with us. Such a wonderful adventure story and the illustrations are GORGEOUS, love all the details. I'll be keeping Jill Barklem on my radar! xx

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    1. I hope you do come across her books Marcia. I know you will enjoy them, maybe you will even blog about them. :-)

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  22. Adorable! Wilfred and Mr. Apple are so brave! Love it.

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    1. It’s a great little story with a happy ending.

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  23. Wow. These are the kind of pictures that tempt me to cut them out of their bindings and post them on the walls. So detailed. I'm curious though. How do you post all of these and the text without worrying about copyright and such? Did you get permission from the author or publisher?

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    1. Hello Tamara, I certainly do worry about copyright, and I have therefore shared the images and text in accordance to the basic ‘Fair Use’ test. However, this can be a tricky area, and I prefer to obtain permissions from the author/publisher if I can. I am not using the images/text for any financial gain. I am not trading in books or any other commodities. I am not running a business. I don’t link to Amazon or any other selling platform (as so many other bloggers do) in the hope of selling books and making a profit. I do have Google advertising on my site but would be happy to remove it if it were deemed a problem. I’ve been blogging for a very long time and am yet to receive any income whatsoever from Google and I honestly don’t think I will live long enough to do so. I am simply sharing books and images I love – if anything I hope it will encourage other people to buy and read the stories.

      According to “fair use” you are allowed to use another person’s work for the purpose of education, commentary, reporting or criticism. This means that you can use copyrighted material without a license only for certain purposes. For example, you can’t simply grab a copyrighted photo and then use it on a social media site just because you think it’s eye-catching. However, it probably would be considered Fair Use if you included the photo in a post that commented on and analyzed the photographer’s work.
      So, if you’re using an image to comment on (or criticize) the topic in the photo, it’s fair to post it to a social media site. If you’re using the photo for financial gain, or to grow your business’ engagement or likes, however, it’s not okay.

      I would love to hear your opinion on this as I obviously don't wish to run into any problems with copyright laws. Barbara

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    2. PS. The thought of cutting images out of books makes me wince. The publishers produced at least one poster book, so you should be able to buy images which you can frame and hang on your walls. I love books and hate to see them cut up and used in that way.

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  24. I know. Cutting up books would be a terrible thing to do. I more meant that the pictures were so wonderful, I'd love to have them or something like them on my walls.

    As for copyright and fair use, I am no expert. I wanted to use a lyric or two from famous songs in my writing, but then discovered that was a no-no unless you get permission because songs are so short, even quoting a few words is a violation of copyright. The song title, however, is okay to use in writing fiction, so that is what I did. As far as blogging, I'm so paranoid, I try to take all my pictures from creative commons stock via Flicker because they are very clear on which images are protected and which are free to use. As for what you have here, you are promoting and critiquing someone's work without making any profit. But if all or the majority of the story and pictures can be found online, are you in any way taking profit from the publisher (i.e. like a pirated copy)? Now I know this is clearly not your intent and the chances of anyone complaining with such on old storybook is teeny-tiny that it's hardly worth worrying about. But I was curious.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this Tamara. I’m not an expert either, and as I said earlier I do worry about breaching copyright. I add publishing and author details so that readers of the blog can find and buy a copy of the book should they so wish. I always attempt to contacted publishers before sharing and would have no hesitation in taking the post down should there be any objections.

      I’m working on a post at the moment which will showcase two soon to be published children’s books. The publisher contacted me and asked me to write the post, so they must feel it will be beneficial to sales. However, this is a different publisher to the one mentioned in this post.

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  25. I don't think I have read any of these- but I do love the illustrations. They really are so sweet. Thanks for sharing this story with us. :)

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to visit and read the story Stephanie.

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  26. Don't you want to live there, Barbara? I have 2 Brambly Hedge books (one I bought from you and another was your gift) and I adore the illustrations. Like Sue said, the series reminds me of Wind in the Willows. Ah ~ how smacking splendid to live there, too.

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    1. Sometimes I think I do live there Claudine! I saw a squirrel and several rabbits when walking yesterday, no mice, but I’m sure they were just under the hedge! :-)

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  27. How wonderful! I haven't read the books, but I remember my ex having some of the Brambly Hedge plates in the shop.

    P.S. - Saw this and thought of you - https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/482937389/1930s-childrens-letter-wallet?ref=market

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    1. Hello Nikki-ann, thank you for the link – you know me so well! Did you see the hand-written letter inside the wallet? I am so tempted to buy it, but we will have to downsize one of these days, and we already have so many collections. I’m thinking about it though, and I might just decide to find a corner for it! :)

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    2. I didn't, but I've just been back to see it. :)

      Have you seen the other vintage books they've got?

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    3. I hadn’t but I just went back to look and there are some interesting bits and pieces. I always visit a certain other ‘well known auction site’ but forgot to look on Etsy, thanks for the reminder.

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  28. What a delightful book and the illustrations are wonderful. I am sure my mum read to me some of these stories to me. I remember her reading the mice series from children's corner in the women's weekly magazines.

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    1. Hello Shashi, I’m sure you are right about your mum reading the stories to you. They were (are) hugely popular, and the books have been reprinted many times.

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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