Monday, 30 April 2012

Some Classic Tales

I've been hitting the op shops for books lately.  That's what I do when the kids are restless. "They mustn't have enough books!" I mutter, as my husband snorts his disbelief in the background.
When is snorting ever attractive?
So as it is a family policy of ours mine, that there can NEVER be too many books in this house, I  head out on my mission: to bring back a many and varied collection of books to excite, inspire and head off the restlessness...
                                                Amongst the horde I arrived home with, was a number of beautifully illustrated classic tales: Snow White - retold by Joyce Dunbar and illustrated by Julie Monks (scholastic press, 2005). It is a really exquisite edition - about as un-disney as you can find of this story, and if the book hadn't been in such perfect condition, I would have been tempted to (um, cough) cut it up to frame the pictures as artwork.

Which is not to say I dislike the Disney versions, as I grew up loving this 1971 Disney Snow White Anthology - which I have duly passed on to my kids. It has great coloured pictures and I still remember when I was maybe eight or nine, laughing hysterically with my brother at a picture of the dwarves without their hats on. We were sitting unaccompanied in church at the time and got spoken too severely by someone else's mum.

Pinnochio - by Carlo Collodi and illustrated by Robert Ingpen (Purple Bear Books, 2005), is similarly wonderful. An extended version of the story with the most amazing pictures - it cost $6 at a Vinnies store, which in op shop $ is like, mega expensive!
The Centennial Edition of Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner, was published in 1994 and illustrated by John Lennox, one hundred years, to the day, after the first edition! (Walter McVitty Books). It is an Australian classic,  and the illustrations in this edition are similar to Norman Rockwell paintings - superb! I remember crying my eyes out when I first read the story, way back when... who can forget the tragedy of the wilful Judy getting crushed by the falling tree. Agh it was terrible! I've just read it again, and it's possibly worse than I remembered.

I didn't have a current copy, so am very pleased to find this one. It is definitely one to put away for a rainy day, and I have visions of reading it to all the children as they lie quiet and still on the back lawn (so maybe not on such a rainy day then..). Obviously someone will have to feed them a sleeping potion first for this idyllic scene to ever occur... and I might have to omit the tragic death scene - at least till they're abit older, and when I can read it without choking up.

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