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the illustrators of The Wind in the Willows - part 2

This is a continuation of the topic the illustrators of The Wind in the Willows.

Tattered but still lovely

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Jan 19, 2016, 12:37pm Top

Okay, the original thread was getting too large to load.

Just as a morning treat, here is a photo of a water vole

Edited: Jan 19, 2016, 12:38pm Top

double post?

Jan 22, 2016, 10:03am Top

love the picture, as did my 8 yo great niece. Nice way to start the day. I hope to encourage her to read The Wind in the Willows soon.

Jan 30, 2016, 10:23am Top

Aha! Found it.

Edited: Jul 12, 2016, 4:24pm Top

As a special treat to myself, I researched the web for the non-exclusive printing of the Folio Society Charles Van Sandwyk Wind in the Willows. I found a reasonably priced copy in near-fine condition on AbeBooks and it arrived yesterday from a shop in Hay-on-Wye, England.

It is a beautiful book. Mixed feelings about the art work, during just a brief scan-through.

Very glad to know about this bookstore (Rose's Books - Collectible Children's Books) and will enquire about other books I lust after.

Jul 14, 2016, 7:35am Top

>5 2wonderY: bookstore bullet...

Edited: Jul 14, 2016, 8:38am Top

They also have a Maggie Downer copy and a Stella Maidment I've got my eye on.

Jul 19, 2016, 7:14am Top

I find I do like Van Sandwyk's characterizations. They are not so different than other of the great illustrators. But he seems to lose steam from one end of the book to the other. He misses attempting some of the most exciting scenes. The great battle for Toad Hall, and even the preparations for it, are completely absent. All we get is a line drawing of several weasels or stoats slinking away. No, not even slinking, just leaving with backward glances.

I understand that the exclusive Folio Society edition has a different list of illustrations. I might wander over to that group and ask about the differences.

It's a beautifully bound book, but somewhat disappointing.

Jul 19, 2016, 12:18pm Top

>8 2wonderY: sorry it was disappointing for you.

It's not The Wind in the Willows, but my latest read, Seabiscuit vs War Admiral, had some really interesting illustrations. The artist used both primitive/abstract and realistic styles within the pages. The little bit of artiste in me liked them, a lot.

Sep 1, 2016, 12:42pm Top

I haven't had time to look at a whole handful of WITW books I ordered and received. I found another British seller who had several of Maggie Downer's books and a Val Biro.

I'm offering a Maggie Downer duplicate of chapter 3 The Wild Wood. It is almost a miniature, being no more than 3-1/2" square. And it's re-written by Stephanie Laslett. Lots of pictures though.

Edited: Sep 1, 2016, 6:31pm Top

>10 2wonderY: I'm interested. :)

Do you have a picture?

Sep 2, 2016, 4:14pm Top

Can't find one online, I'll scan it next week.

Nudge the pile of illustrators now and again and one will fall clear of the others for a closer look-see.
Somehow, Victoria Assanelli came to my attention. This is a Parragon publication from 2014; a dumbed down short story retold by Catherine Allison. It’s a nice sized picture book with a soft and sleek padded cover. The blurred willow branches beckon and the shiny red title winks at you. But the story is run through in just twelve pages. Yes, the caravan trip begins and ends on page three. There is no time for dabbling with the ducks or caroling with the mice or even enjoying a picnic spread. The featured players remain characterless expressionless basic shapes. Ratty is a midget compared to Mole. I keep paging back and forth looking for something pleasing…okay, Badger’s china is pretty.

Edited: Oct 16, 2016, 8:25am Top

Edited: Feb 9, 11:43am Top

>13 Cathy.Wang: Thank you for contributing some images from another part of the world. I do enjoy seeing all the different interpretations.

Trying to translate the tags, I think the illustrator (or perhaps the translator) is Tokmakova I. Denisov. Google search doesn't help beyond that.


Graham, Kenneth. Wind in the Willows. Translation from English Irina Tokmakova. Artist Sergey Denisov. Series: Children bestseller.M .: Eurasian region. 1993 .. Cover: laminated solid .; 224 pages; Format: Pts. big

Oct 22, 2016, 1:35pm Top

>13 Cathy.Wang: oh, I really like those illustrations, they made me grin. I especially loved the smiling stars, happy snowflakes, and all the "eyes" in the scary woods scene.

Feb 3, 8:16pm Top

(notes thus far on Maggie Downer)

Courtesy of the internet, I discovered the English illustrator Maggie Downer, while exploring The Wind in the Willows. Her drawings for that book are particularly charming to my eye. I was finally able to acquire several by ordering them from England. They proved completely satisfactory, and I was able to enjoy five chapters of her pictures.

So, of course, I was curious about her other work. My library system has only a few books with her name attached, but I ordered a few.
Nothing else I’ve seen by her is nearly as good though. I have to conclude that Graham’s work was particularly inspirational for her. These other books seem only workmanlike, lacking the exceptional charm of Willow.

The Little Fir Tree story is peopled with a bear family. The first page seems to promise goodies. It’s a woodland scene in a decorative botanic frame, and two bluebirds hover over the picture, interrupting the frame. It’s a striking technique. But the rest of the pages and characters are extremely ho-hum.

The First Christmas, a nativity storybook, is better. Her frames are nice, Mary and Joseph and some shepherds occasionally have nicely animated features, and the wise men are richly drawn, reminding me of the Petersham’s work. Gabriel’s two appearances are finely drawn and have character. The best feature is the barnyard animals - chickens, oxen and especially the donkey, who gazes out at the reader with curiosity. But I’m not motivated to own it, and it’s a subject I deliberately collect.

As to her WITW; if I put Downer’s work next to Michael Hague (which is similar), I’d have to favor Hague. But on its own, Downer’s renditions are very pleasing, verging on delightful. She seems not to have illustrated the entire book, and the collections I’ve acquired seem to be the entirety of what she produced.

The Nursery Classics volume appears to contain most of her work on the subject. The text redactor is Stephanie Laslett, who does a creditable job, retaining a lot of the best material. We’ve got The River Bank, The Wild Wood, and Return to Toad Hall (which condenses the last two chapters of the original.)

The Children’s Storytime Classics is a simplification of the Nursery Classics, with much less text and fewer pictures. This volume also contains The Adventures of Toad, being chapters 8 and 10 from the original. It is a larger format volume than the very compact Nursery Classics.

Downer sadly appears not to have done On the Road and Dulce Domum, my next favorite chapters after chapter 1. She frames her pages with objects taken from the storyline. So, The Wild Wood chapter, for instance, is festooned with items from Badger’s generous larder stores.

(to be continued)

Edited: Feb 3, 10:25pm Top

Thanks for all your work on this thread 2WonderY!

There's a lovely new version of WITW just out, for those who might be interested. The illustrations are by David Petersen (best known for his work on the Mouseguard graphic novels) - I've attached the cover below, and if you go to the book on amazon you can use the 'look inside' feature to see more illustrations.

Feb 4, 8:36am Top

Oooh! Mouse guard is one graphic novel series I admire. Seems no illustrator can resist this material.

Feb 4, 11:47am Top

>17 skullduggery: Oh my, thanks for the tip. Looks great! Adding it to the WL.

Feb 4, 3:43pm Top

I see this thread is up and running again, good!

Feb 8, 9:56am Top


I'm ebullient this morning. I finally located an affordable copy of The Illustrators of The Wind in the Willows, 1908-2008, ordered it, had second thoughts and cancelled the order. Lucky for me, the Goodwill Store from who knows where ignored my cancellation and sent it to me. It came last night and it had some wonderful surprises. (note to self: check with half.com that the payment goes through) It was a pristine copy, not just good condition. It had many more illustrations than the Amazon descriptor implies. Though most are black & white, there is a short section of glossy color prints. Hares-Stryker organizes her chapters by decades, and her coverage of the artists is both factual and anecdotal. Though she minimizes her own opinions, they are there and welcome.

And beyond that, I find she is local to me. She teaches at a college just across the river from me. I dashed off an email to her and hope to hear back.

She mentions the librarian at the college library in her acknowledgements. I'm guessing there might be a pretty good collection of illustrated versions there. Planning a trip soon!

Feb 8, 1:26pm Top

>21 2wonderY: Maybe the book knew it belonged with you. :-)

Feb 9, 9:50am Top

That is a nice coincidence

Feb 9, 10:09am Top

I'm thinking she may have retired in the last year or so. Her faculty page is not so current, and no response yet to my email. I'm going to try to reach her next through the college librarian. (Which doesn't have much of a collection of WITW after all, searching their online catalog.)

Feb 9, 10:16am Top

Maybe she took them all home.

Feb 9, 10:39am Top

Yes! I can hope that she is still local. I just sent an inquiry to the Dean of the English Department.

Feb 13, 9:00pm Top

>21 2wonderY: wonderful find! I am happy it found its way to your mailbox. :)

Edited: Feb 14, 2:19pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Feb 21, 10:46am Top

No word from Hares-Stryker. I feel as if I missed her by just this tiny bit. Oh, well.

I did manage to find a very cheap copy of Beyond the Wild Wood while I was playing on half.com. $1.12 plus shipping, and it's an ex-library book. But except for the inconspicuous label on the spine and a stamp or two inside, the book is in perfect condition. It'll be a serious pleasure to read it.

Feb 26, 12:11pm Top

>30 2wonderY: let us know when you do read it.

Feb 26, 11:36pm Top

I just found an unusual sort-of illustrated version of The Wind in the Willows, available from Spineless Classics online:


The company's gimmick is printing the whole text of a book on a poster, with a design that is appropriate to the book:

Feb 27, 10:26pm Top

>32 harrygbutler: I'd never be able to read that fine print!

Feb 28, 9:07am Top

>33 fuzzi: I think I'd want to hang a magnifying glass next to the poster.

Feb 28, 9:14am Top

>34 harrygbutler: a very strong magnifying glass would be necessary!

Feb 28, 9:54am Top

This is the magnifying glass I remember:

Edited: May 19, 4:13pm Top

I continue to enjoy this pursuit.

As skullduggery says above, David Petersen is well known for his Mouse Guard series, which I've enjoyed. Someone convinced him to illustrate the entire WITW.
It was published last year.

I didn't check, but it appears to be the entire text of the original.

Petersen seems to have borrowed heavily from other prior illustrators, and he says as much in his dedication: "to the illustrators of Grahame's tale who came before and forged a visual path for me to wander."

I'd say most like Eric Kincaid and Ernest Shepard, with a touch of Michael Hague and Don Daily.

It is lush and visually satisfying. Though it doesn't describe the art technique, Petersen's short bio mentions that his BFA is in Printmaking. Ah! Thus the heavy black lines throughout the prints.

Two negatives

Too many black & white illustrations. Petersen's work is meant to have color!
Ratty seems too solemn and formal. Always in a coat, and never smiling.

But all 'round a good solid collection.

May 21, 3:29pm Top

DK (Dorling Kindersley) has a Young Classics series.

Sally Grindley adapted the text, producing 6 chapters and Eric Copeland illustrated the book.

Copeland’s watercolors do not stint on color, detail and action. It is a good piece of work. The first chapter especially meets the Riverbank and does it justice. The ebullience of spring can almost be smelled. Characters are what you’d expect, without any oddities or outstanding notes. Casual dress is allowed.

Many pages contain a box with a photo or illustration from Edwardian times that helps to contextualize parts of the story that might seem odd to young readers. For instance, there is a note about badgers and their seasonal habits.

My favorite illustration is Rat pulling Mole from his dip in the river.

(It's possible I've noted this edition before. I see I added it in 2014.)

May 21, 8:32pm Top

>38 2wonderY: care to scan some pictures?

>37 2wonderY: I do like the black outlines, almost like stained glass.

Group: Tattered but still lovely

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