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Archive for the ‘book pile’ Category

book shopping in tokyo: take that concept in. yes, it was very good and by day one of our trip i was well on my way to a potential excess baggage fee. the bookstore in the basement of the parco department store was heaven, and all of the books i want to show you today came from there. i could have come away with many, many more because the range, and the quality was amazing. but i’m not at all disappointed by what i brought home…

cheerful in 3 1/2 months

“cheerful in 3 1/2 months” is a really amusing book  by Gerard Jansen full of great colorful illustrations by Sue Doeksen.

"try to recreate junk food"

the book provides one tip per day for a 3 and a half month path to cheerfulness. and how could you not be cheerful at suggestions like inventing your own toilet choreography, jumping in a bouncy castle, and my #1 tip – “be your favorite piece of pie”.

50 jeux pour route l'anée illustrated by alain gree

was this for my son? no. no it wasn’t. i’ll just put it on the shelf next to my “worst mother ever” trophy.

sur le chemin

…i mean, sure, he can look at it – while wearing cotton gloves. when he’s 19.
inside the back of the book is a collection of stickers to be used in the various activities through the book. and if you know of a kiddo who would definitely appreciate this book, then you should get it for them because its filled with fabulous alain grée illustrations. and probably a fun way to learn french!

"colorful room of the japan"

“colorful room of the japan” is jam packed with some of the most “colorful room of the japan” you’ll ever see. but wait! there’s more..

goofy grape kitchen
not only rooms “of the japan” but also of the spain, and of the france! and there are some cute crafty decor projects too. i’d really love to tell you more but its all in “the japanese”.

its the... thing.. book! YAY!
so, i have NO idea what this is all about. but its PACKED with adorableness. anyone? leave a comment and enlighten me. it seems to be the inspiration files of a couple of designers – but i could be way off. its full of deers, and pandas so lets all look at some pandas!!

what do you think? should i go back and get some more books? go on. twist my arm!

friday street fantasy!

i received some very happy surprise mail yesterday: the gorgeous alex fulton gifted me this spectacularly groovy board book & 45 record! ‘friday street fantasy’ was published by paul hamlyn,sydney, 1969. aside from the party-in-an-ornamental-photo-lettering-catalog cover up there, its full of fab illustrations. and mysterious music…

a little book of songs + record

…unfortunately a small person i know jammed up our record player and so i haven’t heard the record yet. but for now, the illustrations:

friday street fantasy!
this is the town of Friday Street (yes. a town called street. ask bruce woodley). it was full of sad children until one day…


friday street fantasy!
…the friday man came to town with a rainbow in his hand!

friday street fantasy!

and now everyone in town sings and plays and has fun! aaahh pink and orange town!! i want to live there!

little one

the next song ‘little one’ is a lullaby (i assume from the lyrics …ahem, naughty record player breaking child). i like the dancing doll marionette!

captain grumblepeg
and this is captain grumblepeg, and his lady mary morningstar.


little miss sorrow

this is little miss sorrow.  her balloons are just beautiful, so i hope she’s not sad for long.


bruce woodley

in the back cover we meet bruce, singer and songwriter and member of the seekers (a famous australia folk group from the 60s). apparently he was 26 when he made this album!

paul corley, graphic designer and jeannette spencer, illustrator
and the creators of the colorful illustrations are paul corley and jeannette spencer. wherever they are now, i hope they’re still making bright and fun artwork for children!

thank you again alex, i will treasure this book!

rosie's walk
i think the illustrations in this book go so nicely with some of the mugs in yesterday’s post that it would only be right to make this classic picture book today’s bookpile feature. are you familiar with ‘rosie’s walk’? its a bit of a classic, library staple here in australia, along with all of pat hutchins books. because its still in print and very popular here i don’t want to give too much away, but rather show you some fab illustrations and urge you to go buy your own copy!

title page
rosie’s walk

written by pat hutchins

originally published 1971

tree detail
i think the illustrations are so charming. they remind me of the detailed fine line work of some scandinavian ceramic designers. above is a detail of a sweet snail and some of those fabulous leaves!

watch out rosie! i like her feathers and the papyrus-like flowers.

corn wagons
love the naughty sneaky fox’s detailed pelt. and if wagons were that groovy i’d be a farmer! would you read farm! pilgrim?

more wonderful flowers and insects

don’t you think you should buy your own copy?

firebrand: push your hair out of your eyes - written by natalie scott, illustrated by sandra smith
you’ve seen wings on wednesday, you’ve seen the wizard of the umbrella people and you’ve seen please sit still (if you haven’t – quick, go look now). now its time to see the last of my sandra smith illustrated picture books. i really don’t know any more about her than i did when i first posted, but i have had lots of nice people comment or email telling me they remembered her illustrations and love them too. so if you know anything, please share, because there are lots of sandra smith admirers here! can you imagine if we tracked her down and scored an interview? dream!

firebrand push your hair out of your eyes

written by natalie scott

illustrated by sandra smith

published by ure smith, sydney 1968

find your own copy here

aunt chatty, aunt memory, aunt mopey, and aunt sweet
once there was a small girl named firebrand who had beautiful thick, red hair and a voice that roared. she lived with her parents and an older sister named carrots (take that gwyneth paltrow – apparently parents were raiding the crisper for names long before little apple was born!) her aunts would visit and comment on her beautiful hair and her mother would say “push it out of your eyes, firebrand” to which firebrand would reply with a roar “NO!”

on the bus: let down your hair
each morning her mother would comb and tie her hair back and firebrand would turn red and say “i look like a bonbon!”. nonsense! everyone told her. but as soon as she was on the bus she’s let her hair down and fluff it til it fell into her eyes.

"fingers, stop sucking your thumb! curlycue, sit up! gossip, stop talking! firebrand, push your hair out of your eyes!"
at school she learned songs and arithmetic and the teacher would say “fingers, stop sucking your thumb! curlycue, sit up straight! gossip, stop talking so much! firebrand, push your hair out of your eyes!” firebrand would scowl and roar to herself – NO!

after a fight with her sister, firebrand finds a tree and looking up she see’s all the beautiful leaves and so she climbs to the top. at the very top the wind blows her hair from her eyes and she looks out at the wonderful view. on her way down, though she loses her footing and falls hard against the ground.

Bed rest
her father puts her to bed and the doctor comes but finds no broken bones. firebrand was very sore and sorry for herself but everyone makes a fuss over her and her aunts bring her flowers, and chocolates and a gramophone.

sitting pretty

the next day firebrand quietly brings her brush and comb and ribbons to her mother. she asks in a small voice, nothing like her usual roar, for her mother to tie her hair back. she discovered that with her hair back she could see all kinds of things she’d never seen before.

for more pages from firebrand visit my flickr


another incredible book from the shelves of ms peta pledger.

the milk box mystery

written by: gina ingoglia

illustrated by: jerry smath

published: macmillan, 1975


the story follows alice and willi who go to stay with their aunt. they explore her small town and find an abandoned house containing a mysterious milk box…


i love the illustration in this book. its not often you see such vibrant, graphic work done with watercolour. it looks great, don’t you think?


the pattern and textures in the illustrations are really great too, i think. isn’t the woodgrain of the porch nicely done? and let’s not even get started on those fabulous flares!


ooh i love all the bubbly textures in this illustration. is it making you want to get the water colours out too?


inside of the mysterious milk box is a glass lion.. each day the children return to the house to find another glass animal is in the box.


the lace! ooh the lace.. here we see alice at the abandoned house, meeting a strange new boy.


such great composition on this page. everything is dynamic, isn’t it? i wish my grocer had a monkey. and some hand sanitizer too.


a quick google shows jerry smath to be a prolific illustrator, though i couldn’t see much in this similare style. are you familiar with his work? buy your own copy of the milk box mystery.

the old woman who lived in a vinegar bottle

written by rumer godden

illustrated by mairi hedderwick

published by macmillan, london, 1972

this book has been with me since i was little, and its possibly responsible for my love of patchwork. isn’t that a gorgeous cover? i really enjoy the pen and ink illustrations by mairi hedderwick. they evoke the colors and textures of the rugged parts of the UK countryside so well.

aren’t the pebbles and hillside rendered nicely? so washy and soft looking, with that added complexity of the pen lines. but on to the story…

the old woman lives a modest life in her vinegar bottle, which the author explains is most likely a modified oast house which bears a resemblance to old style stoneware vinegar bottles. her cat malt is well fed while she ekes out her existence on bread, trimmings from the butcher and a drop of milk for her tea.

one day while cleaning she finds a sixpence just as the fishing boats are coming to shore. she buys what she can from the fishermen – a small fish but she can’t bring herself to take it home and so she throws it back into the lake. just as she is leaving the fish calls to her. he is a prince and he offers to grant her anything she likes in return for saving his life. the old lady is stunned and thanks the fish but says she doesn’t need anything.

she returns home in a daze before realizing she has nothing to eat. nervously she returns to the lake and asks the fish for “a good hot dinner”. the fish tells her that when she goes home she will find one. at home the table is covered with roast beef and all the trimmings, bread and dessert, with milk and catnip for malt the cat. full from dinner, the old lady falls asleep and awakes later to a clear table and a note reading “another one tomorrow”.

that night a storm batters the vinegar bottle, and the following morning the old lady visits the fish if it would be too much trouble to have a little cottage. the old lady turns to head home and is met with a pretty little cottage. she walks through it in awe, but realizes her old furniture looks shabby and sparse. she once again asks the fish who grants her request. at home, in the new bedroom mirror the old lady sees how plain she looks. she asks the fish for new clothes and she’s immediately in a fresh new dress. at home her wardrobe is stocked with everything she could need. as she eats her dinner that night she realizes she no longer has clothes to work in and she couldn’t possibly get her new clothes dirty. she hurries to the lake and without greeting him, demands a maid.

“‘go home and you will find one’ said the fish. his voice was quiet … and a shade tired.”

at home, the old lady is irritated by the maid’s presence and the lack of her rocking chair. she hears the church bells and decides to go to church to show off her new clothes. but her shoes pinch and so she marches down to the fish to demand transportation. when she finds a cart and pony she sniffs in disdain and stamps back to the lake to explain she wanted a car. a car appears, but the old lady wanted a different car with a chauffeur.

the little fish did not say, “go home and you will find one,” but stood up out of the water on his silver tail. “you used to curtsey to me,” said the little fish. “yesterday you came and said ‘thank you’ before you touched a morsel of the dinner i sent you. that was yesterday, but now! you are a greedy and ungrateful old woman,” said the fish. “go back to your vinegar bottle.

back at the vinegar bottle everything was back to how it had been. the miserable old lady goes back to the lake to apologize and beg the fish’s forgiveness. the fish offered to restore the dinners, and cottage, and clothes, and maid and chauffeur for the repentant old lady, but she insisted that her and malt were best in the vinegar bottle. all they needed was a nice hot sunday dinner.

have we all learned a valuable lesson from the fish? i think i’d be happy with someone magically providing dinner!

wedding by barbara norfleet, a fireside book published by simon and schuster, 1979

today’s bookpile choice is quite different from our usual cute kid’s book fare, but i just had to share  it with you. this book comes from my mother’s collection and despite never being much of a wedding girl, i’ve always enjoyed looking through the photos and wondering about the women behind the veil. i hope you enjoy a peek at this book, and i hope the photographic subjects all live(d) long and happy lives together.

‘wedding’ by barbara norfleet is the expanded catalog of a photography exhibition, ‘the wedding’, that was held in 1976 at the carpenter center for visual arts at harvard university. the exhibition was such a success that the following year it moved to new york’s international center for photography and became one of the most popular shows in the history of the ICP.

click any image to view a larger version.

her veil is very beautiful and worth a close look

double wedding!

what a cute couple! i really love how happy everyone looks, the whole family is so joyful – and the old lady with the little girl has her hair in rollers. can you imagine seeing that in today’s magazine-esque staged wedding photos?! even then it’d no doubt be painfully ironic.

draw your own academic comparison between the last supper print on the wall behind the newly weds and their bounty of wedding swag. i like their satin bedspread. really like this photo, taken at a home rather than a studio. under the benevolent watch of the kennedys.

i find this image quite sad, poor lonely bride on a tarp sheet. her beautiful dress seems at odds with the mess hall she’s standing in, and that lone streamer in the top of the frame doesn’t do much to turn the mood around. do you think she stood there for the whole day while people queued around her for cake? maybe she’s a ghost and its not really her wedding.

this dress is my favorite. she looks young, elegant and modern (for the time). i like the composition, making her look toward the bright future, while those cherub sculptures gaze at her beauty. its a bit hokey, but i like it.

this feels like the collision of two stages of a girl’s life: the horsey ‘tween’ stage, and the bride stage. do they give ribbons for brides?

i love this photo! look, she’s flashing her garter belt! and so many flowers! and her eyes! oh its all so great and like some eastern european vision of americana.

damn hippies. (i kid, i kid, you guys know how much i love damn hippies. if you’d prefer to you could read it like “day-um!! hippies!”)

and lastly let me leave you with this happy, carefree photo of the tossed bouquet.

get your own copy from amazon

(FYI i’m an amazon affiliate, but also a person who thinks you should own interesting books)


graphic,regular feature

today’s bookpile book comes from the incredible collection of ms peta pledger. i couldn’t believe this book when i saw it its just so wholesome and sweet! its a lutheran-based ‘life education’ book. so if you’re still wondering where you came from or why you’re having these strange new feelings, read on! firstly, you should be a natty teen – i’m pretty sure if these preppy kids stripped down they’d be strategically covered by fig leaves.


wonderfully made, by ruth s hummel & w.j. fields
published by concordia publishing house, 1967
purchase a copy from amazon


recipe: take one man (preferably in a suit, shade of lime green not important) and one lady (must have petite waist and be partially transparent when standing by her man).


love brought you to life! also: ovaries. aren’t they neat and tidy looking? i hope mine have a groovy lettered sign like that.


this is where a baby lives. please note more fabulous typography. type like that makes the miracle of birth way better.


as a parent, i must point out that kids don’t produce giant purple, fun, lettering. its mostly shouting which is undetected by the eye, but doubly detected by your rapidly diminishing sense of hearing.


i’m captioning this illustration ‘valley of the doll: the joy of being a mother (or just the joy of those awesome sedatives everyone took in the 60s)’


i have a feeling this poor teen has been put in a coma by that wallpaper. so many roses! as you can see he tried to cover it a bit, but the pennants! they do nothing!


just one more bit of fabulous typography! can you imagine how this book would go down with the ‘youth’ today? i think their irony-meters would fall off!


this week’s book pile is one from my childhood collection. i really love this old kind of children’s annual, a book full of puzzles, games, poems and stories. i seemed to end up with quiet a few different annuals and i really liked the variety in them. this one especially has very cute illustrations by quite a few different artists. there is a list of the artists on the book plate page which i’ll include here seeing as i can attribute individual illustrations:

harold beards, evelyn cuthbertson, george dixon, gilbert dunlop, jill francksen, james hunt, paddy kerr, may kirkham, g.m. luckcraft, gladys mason, madeline mays, rita parsons, shirley ann richardson, jenny reyn, madeleine robinson, sabine schweitzer, patrick sinclair, joan thompson, m tompkins and leslie webb.

there is no publisher or date (i’m guessing its early 60s with some older material in it too), only the information that it was printed in great britain associated newspapers ltd. london, E.C.4… its a mystery book!


here is the charming paper lining the covers. i love the little imps or pixies, swinging and sitting on toadstools.


first page is a sweet book plate-type page, listing the illustrator’s below.


title page: can i even articulate how much i love fancy trains in children’s illustrations? can i?! no. i love them. the fancier the better. i like the gaudy victorian typeface they’ve used. i expect the train is going to stop near a band stand with the actual sgt. pepper’s band is playing.


‘at the fair’ by gladys oakley. so much amazing vintage carnival inspiration. i’d love to see a whole mural of this picture. its so british!


minds out of the gutter please! ‘the magic hole’ by wendy grant is about a boy who climbs into a tree, only to exit via a hedge. i’m sure we’ve all been there. stories like that used to really scare me when i was little so you won;t find me climbing into mysterious holes too often.


‘the tree of allerdam’ by ambrose haynes about a beloved tree in the market square. the mayor wants to cut it down but the birds of the tree turn against him. possibly inspired the film ‘the birds’. the pretty illustration doesn’t really do justice to the horror of the birds attacking the mayor on the adjacent un-pictured page.


‘waiting for the holiday train’ is a very british poem. its all about a trip to the seaside, which if ‘brighton rock’ by graham greene* taught me anything, is the high point of the british person’s summer and lots of wholesome fun.

* see that? thats literary humor. i’ll stop being clever now.



the back cover, with cute bookworms.

the wizard of the umbrella people
by louise kent
illustrated by sandra smith
published by ure smith, sydney

wizard of the umbrella people: cover

this is the third book i’ve featured illustrated by sandra smith, and unfortunately i’m still not any more enlightened as to what her story is. what i’m very certain of is i love her style. its so bright and cute and i love the art nouveau style curlicues that make her illustrations even more dynamic.

wizard of the umbrella people: title page

unlike wings on wednesday and please sit still (both written by natalie scott) this book was written by  louise kent who is also a mystery. i promise, i have actually done some research into this but information on either author or illustrator is no where to be found online! if any of you know anything about either please leave a comment, because i love to have some background to the books i cherish.

wizard of the umbrella people

the story tells of the people in the land of umbrella. unsurprisingly, they love rain and spend their days playing in puddles and splashing about.

wizard of the umbrella people

the land of umbrella had its own wizard, willy,  who had invented the umbrella. he lived in the highest tower of royal umbrella palace but as the years went on he got more and more forgetful. one day there was no rain, so the king sent his footmen to fetch the wizard.

wizard of the umbrella people

the king demanded the wizard bring back the rain, and with help from his cat lightening, the forgetful wizard tries a couple of spells, but the sun carries on shining.

wizard of the umbrella people

the king grew angrier so the wizard tried more spells but with no luck. at last he remembered a very special spell, and the footmen were dispatched to collect the ingredients:

first, the tick of a clock

and a sweet smelling fish

a two week old spider

(now what else do i wish?)

a bag of small peanuts,

a holly branch too

and a large ostrich egg-

any color will do.

there’s  just one more favor,

the very last one:

my large mixing bowl

helps banish the sun.

wizard of the umbrella people 10

outside the palace the citizens in their rapidly sweaty rain gear gathered in the sunshine.

wizard of the umbrella people

as the wizard worked on the spell, and the umbrella people waited patiently, the streams and rivers of  the kingdom were drying up.

wizard of the umbrella people

the powerful spell cast the wizard up to the sky on the back of a winged white horse, into the sun.

wizard of the umbrella people

ringle, tingle, tangle – DONE

go away, you naughty sun

the wind from the horse’s wing’s swept up the citizens of  the land of umbrella and when their umbrella’s pierced the clouds it began to rain again.

wizard of the umbrella people

(pictured above is the wizard’s cat, lightening)

so now you know what to do if it stops raining