Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


In today's post, I thought it would be fun to share some book covers from over the years that have encased J.M. Barrie's imaginative story of Peter Pan. The first one I'll mention - shown below - is a classically illustrated edition, with the artwork of over 16 illustrators, compiled by Cooper Edens.  I would highly recommend it, especially if you're interested to see how different illustrators have captured Peter in graphic depiction.

[If you missed my post about Peter Pan last summer, you can find it here: "Make This the Summer You Read Aloud J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan".]
This story is delightful for children and adults alike. Throughout the book, the omniscient narrator interjects many humorous asides and explanations to the reader - apparently Barrie's attempt to remind us adults, who surely have lost touch with our childhood imaginations, about the inborn behavior of children. But I think he also wants to admonish children to appreciate their carefree youth while they have it. Young children may not fully grasp the meaning of what is discussed throughout the novel, but they will love the adventures of Peter, Wendy, John and Michael.

The story of Peter Pan has always been special to our family. My dad (Peter) fondly remembers as a boy being taken to see the play, starring Mary Martin.  My own daughter became a fan of the story as an eighth grader when she read the illustrated edition (pictured above) for the first time. And she was thrilled when she was given the dance (and flying!!!)  role of "Peter" for her ballet studio's production. Then there's my nephew, Peter who cried because the adventure was over when they finished reading Peter Pan aloud as a family (he was nine at the time).

Here are some of my favorite covers, and their illustrators (click on the illustrator's name to see more):

Arthur Rackham
F.D. Bedford

Edmund Blampied
Gwynedd M. Hudson
Mabel Lucie Atwell

Eyvind Earle
Michael Hague
 A Game of cards appeared around the same time that the play and the book were at the height of their popularity. The illustrations in this game were taken from the original pen and water colour drawings by Charles A. Buchel. He was a famous theatrical illustrator and artist of the day who had designed the original posters for the first performance of Peter Pan in 1904. He loved the theatre and claimed that he “probably had as sitters, more actors and actresses than any other living artist”. It seems very likely that his designs of the costumes and characters in the illustrations are based on the those of the original performances. [source: The Virtual Museum of Childhood]
Buchel's original theatre poster for the 1904 production of Peter Pan


  1. These are great book covers, particularly the ones illustrated by Arthur Rackham and Mabel Lucie Atwell. I am fascinated by children's literature and illustrators, so I love visiting your blog regularly.

  2. What a beautiful collection of books!

  3. I have a dim little-girl memory of seeing a Peter Pan play with a flying Peter Pan. I wanted to fly just like that for ages afterwards! That's what I remember most about the play.

    Does anyone do omniscient narrators anymore? They are such fun when they show up in older books.