Thanks to Pip for inviting me to join in her Week of Vintage Children's Illustration! I've been obsessed with vintage children's books for longer than I care to remember, so it is going to be really hard to choose just seven of my favourite illustrators or genres.
I thought I would kick off the week with Puppet Storybooks, also known as 3-D Storybooks. The blurb on one of my favourite books tells us that these are 'tried-and-true tales for very young children - all selected for simple text and ability to provide reading and listening pleasure... and made even more attractive by beautiful colour illustrations of adorable puppets in lifelike poses that are an endless delight'.
Usually the stories in Puppet Books are well-known fairy tales - like the ones illustrated here (Cinderella, Jack & the Beanstalk, The Three Kittens and Sleeping Beauty).
Often they come from Japan or Eastern Europe, although it seems they were popular everywhere during the sixties and seventies.
I am really fascinated by these books. There is something about the poses of the puppets, the attention to detail in the backgrounds, the props and the hyper-real colours that is so engaging, yet at the same time just ever so slightly scary.
And of course I love to check out the vintage fabrics, like the little dresses worn by the three kittens and Sleeping Beauty.
I hope that some talented people start to make these puppet storybooks again, with a contemporary touch. The closest I have seen is Lauren Child's wonderful version of The Princess and the Pea.