If you know me, you know I like fancy books. Illuminated, leatherbound etc. But I am especially picky about illustrations. Some books don’t have any or many (The Hobbit) and some can only have one artist- Pauline Baynes for Narnia, for example. But some books have been illustrated over and over again and I get to pick which ones I like best for that book. Some times that’s easy- Rackham for Midsummer Night’s Dream or Norman Rockwell for Tom Sawyer.
Yesterday I discovered that a couple of books have illustrators that I did not know about. “Little Women” is one- I have the Juanita Bennett illustrations (only the first book, sadly) but I discovered yesterday that Norman Rockwell also illustrated Little Women- sort of. He did a series of paintings and drawings which were never published in a copy of the book. Oh now, really? I want copies of all of them and I’ll tip them into a book and make my own, thanks.
I also discovered that “The Wind in the Willows” was illustrated by Rackham, then by E H Shepard (of Winnie the Pooh) and then by Tasha Tudor. Oh for heavens sake- which one do I choose? (No, only one. I’m not having three copies- one of them is best… but which one?) So now I’m dithering. And it’s entirely a matter of personal taste- my best is not someone else’s best.