Monday, 17 March 2008

Week of Vintage Children's Illustration
Day One


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.

13 comments:

Jodie said...

Lauren Child's princess and the Pea is one of my all-time favourites. I love the photo of all the mattresses!

AnastasiaC said...

these are cool Allison...very 70's but i love all the detail!! very clever!

Jenny said...

Such amazing books-I've never seen them before-quite lovely but yes a little bit scary too!

Violet & Rose said...

Oh my goodness! I had the book of the three little kittens when I was a child! I can't believe I've seen it again. I loved it. It was a board book from memory.

Bird Bath said...

Yes I've seen these...very unique,very vibrant,a dash of kooky, but so appealing!

acoustitch said...

Oh I really LOVED those books. I was just hunting for them the other day and trying to explain to my mum what they were, hoping she kept them. Some had holographic covers...memories!

Pip from Meet Me at Mikes said...

Oh yes.. I love these ones! I have a bit of a collection - but they are often badly battered when I find them! I think they are MUCH loved by kids.. so strange and cool at the same time!

megsie said...

my sister still has her copy from when she was a child. They are so lovley. My fav is the pinocchio story:)

boobook said...

Cinderella scares me
xoxx

Bec said...

Oh wow, yes!! I remember I had the kitten one too!! I ADORED these books and yes acoustitch you're right some of the ones I had, had those holographic pictures on the front!!
That's why I love vintage ViewMaster slides too - they're all "puppet pictures" like this!

ingrid said...

EEEK! I love these too! I have The Red Shoes and put pictures in my blog a few months ago. I would love to find some more but I dont see them around very often.
Lauren Childs The Princess and the Pea is a firm favourite in our house too and we just bought her new Pippi Longstocking as well.

Sarah said...

Hah i remember being fascinated by my nursery rhymes book in this style, it's true, they're so engaging but i think it's the eyes that make them that bit freaky... kinda like cirque du soleil for me, amazing but freaky-deaky.

Jessi said...

I was trying to search for a book I had as a child and was delighted to see you had posted pictures from the book I was looking for here! It's actually the closest I've come to finding this book again! I just need a title or publisher and hopefully someone here can help.
The book had a few of these stories illustrated with puppets like these. I believe it had Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. If anyone knows the title or how I can buy a copy please reply back! Thank-you!