I was searching around online for pages from a vintage book of children’s nursery rhymes recently. I have one page, with an illustration for Three Billy Goats Gruff, from The Mother Goose Book published in 1924 by Frederick Warne & Co. I was hoping to find another page to pair with it. Unfortunately, this book (or pages from it) are very hard to find. The only ones I could find were 3 pages in an Etsy shop, and they weren’t illustrations I wanted. It’s too bad I missed out on The Queen of Hearts and Sing a Song for Sixpence.
While searching, though, I think I stumbled across something better. I found a listing for Dean’s Mother Goose Book of Rhymes, illustrated by Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone. When I saw the cover, I had such a strong emotional reaction — I had owned this book as a child and forgotten all about it. Seeing it again, I immediately started remembering the illustrations in the book. They were marvelous, and I remembered them vividly. I don’t know where the copy I had as a child is now, but I knew I wanted to own this book again and share it with my daughter, because I had loved it. I searched for other books illustrated by Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone and found Dean’s A Book of Fairy Tales. I remembered owning this book, too, and loved it very much.
I started monitoring Ebay auctions for both books, and quickly learned I’m not the only one who loves them–they can be quite expensive! My wonderful mother found a copy of A Book of Fairy Tales on Etsy at an amazing price, and I bought it right away. I arrived in the mail today, and it is beautiful. It is in excellent condition, and the illustrations are so wonderful.
As I leafed through the book, I felt like I was seeing old friends. I remembered each illustration, each story. I must have spent a lot of time with this book as a child. I know my memory is poor, but I’m surprised that I completely forgot about these books. And I am equally surprised at how quickly and clearly my memories returned once I saw the covers.
I am looking forward to sharing this book with Alexis, but I think we will wait until she outgrows her “must eat all the books” phase. Now I just need to get an amazing deal on the Mother Goose Book of Rhymes.