Sunday, 31 August 2014

"The Penguin Book Of Contemporary Verse" Edited By Kenneth Allott, Book Cover Designed By Stephen Russ (published by Penguin Books Ltd, London 1956 - first published in 1950)

 
 
A classic 50's book jacket designed by Stephen Russ (1919-1983). Russ studied at the Royal College of Art in the 1930's under Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious and worked as a freelance designer/illustrator for many publishers in the UK. From the 1950's onwards he taught design at Bath Academy of Art. Here's the only biography I could find on the internet:  http://www.baacorsham.co.uk/lightbox/srussintro.htm 
 
Some more Penguin covers designed by Stephen Russ here: http://vintagepenguins.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/covers-by-stephen-russ-part-one.html
 





Thursday, 28 August 2014

"DIE ABENTEUER DES BRAVEN SOLDATEN SCHWEJK" by Jaroslav Hašek, illustrated by Josef Lada (published by KIEPENHEUER & WITSCH KOLN, Berlin 1956) Part 3

 

Three more of Lada's illustrations - such simple lines but so expressive and funny. There is an excellent collection of work in colour he produced for children's publications on the 50Watts blog: http://50watts.com/filter/czech/The-Seasons-Come-The-Seasons-Go 

There is also an interesting biography on Jaroslav Hašek(1883-1923) on this link: http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/hasek.htm



Monday, 25 August 2014

"DIE ABENTEUER DES BRAVEN SOLDATEN SCHWEJK" by Jaroslav Hašek, illustrated by Josef Lada (published by KIEPENHEUER & WITSCH KOLN, Berlin 1956) Part 2

 
 
It appears that Josef Lada (1887-1957) is a Czech legend, much loved for generations in his country - and rightly so. I only found out about this artist when I picked up this book and realised these weren't just any ordinary illustrations. Just taking a glimpse at this pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/mmmdancer1/love-josef-lada/ you'll get a flavour of the huge volume of his work that's been published! This book is a German translation of Jaroslav Hašek's famous book,  "The Good Soldier Švejk"  (originally published in 1923). The story is a series of farcical incidents in the life of a Czech soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War 1. Here is the link on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Good_Soldier_%C5%A0vejk
 

 

 

Monday, 11 August 2014

"Little Rabbit Foo Foo" By Michael Rosen Illustrated By Arthur Robins (Published by Walker Books Ltd, London 1990) Part 2

 

This is, by far, the funniest children's book I've ever read. Simple and punchy lines that kids can follow and memorise, yet quite a surreal story: A rabbit, riding a motorcycle in the forest (a perfect match of urban and country style!) bangs any creature that comes his way on the head with a hammer. Victims vary from the tiny earth worms to goblins and tigers(!). They all complain to the Good Fairy who duly warns Rabbit Foo Foo that if he doesn't stop she'll turn him into a goonie.  He, of course, remains defiant...

Michael Rosen's prose is just perfect (here's the author's website: http://www.michaelrosen.co.uk/ ) and Arthur Robins (b. 1944) is a master in creating all the lovable characters in the book with all their funny expressions, postures and animation. Here is his biographical note on the Walker Books website: http://www.walker.co.uk/contributors/Arthur-Robins-2974.aspx
 
 
The endpapers of the book, parading all Rabbit Foo Foo's victims.
 
 
The formidable and rather atypical Good Fairy in action. Arthur Robins' own website is: http://www.artrobins.com/
 


Saturday, 26 July 2014

"Dinosaurs and All That Rubbish" By Michael Foreman (Puffin Books, Penguin Books Ltd, London 1974) - Part 3

 

Apart from its stunning illustrations, this book is one of the early literary attempts to generate awareness about the massive industrial pollution and the systematic destruction of our planet's resources. Sadly, forty years on, things are only going from bad to worse for the environment. Children that were brought up with books like this one are now part of the establishment, enabling the pollution to go on indefinitely while no one seems to have any interest in trying to stop it.