Children’s Books Holiday Round-Up

Here’s a few of our favorite new books to give to your loved ones this holiday season:

The Hundred and One Dalmatians, by Dodie Smith, Folio Society; $59.95, 208 pages, all ages.

Smith’s 1957 classic children’s story gets the Folio treatment in this lavish update, complete with a black and white spotted slipcover. Illustrated by award-winning Sara Ogilvie and introduced by National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson, share this special edition with someone with a soft spot for canine capers. NOTE: Order by December 14th to ensure Christmas delivery.

Read the Book, Lemmings! by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zacharia OHora, Little, Brown & Company; $17.99, 40 pages, ages 3-6.

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While sailing in freezing waters, First Mate Foxy reads that lemmings don’t jump off cliffs, only to finding his furry shipmates doing exactly that. “Guess they didn’t read the book,” he muses. As they keep leaping into the icy drink, Foxy takes it upon himself to solve the mystery of these jumping lemmings. Dyckman’s on-point humor is perfectly matched by OHora’s retro-inspired artwork. A warm and funny look at compassion and patience that’s perfect for all ages.

The Little Reindeer, by Nicola Killen, Simon & Schuster; $15.99, 32 pages, ages 2-5.

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Just as Ollie snuggles under the covers on Christmas Eve, she’s jolted awake by the sounds of jingle bells. Away she slides on her sleigh into the snowy night, where she meets a reindeer who sweeps her up on a magical journey. The black and white palette, punctuated by pops of red and metallic silver ink, makes for a most enchanting tale about the magic of the season.

Red Again, by Barbara Lehman, HMH Book for Young Readers; $16.99, 32 pages, ages 3-7. 

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A boy discovers a red book on the side of the road. Inside it is another book where another child finds a similar book, and two worlds collide in this wordless examination of loneliness, adventure, and the never ending pleasures of storytelling. Lehman’s sequel to her 2005 Caldecott Honor winning The Red Book is sure to delight fans both old and new.

The Nutcracker Mice, by Kristin Kladstrup, illustrated by Brett Helquist, Candlewick Press; $17.99, 336 pages, ages 8-11.

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A family of mice live in Saint Petersbourg’s famous Mariinsky theater, and the little critters adore the ballet performed by both the humans and their furry cohorts, but a new ballet called the Nutcracker features mice as villains, sending the mice into distress. Meanwhile, among the humans, nine-year old Irinia, the daughter of a mouse exterminator, believes the mice she’s seen hidden at the theater may be more than just four-legged pests. Can Irina help save the Mariinsky mice from certain annihilation? Will the dancing mice make it in the ultra-competitive Russian Mouse Ballet Company? Veteran YA author Kristin Kladstrup gives The Nutcracker a delightfully whimsical origin story, and Brett Helquist’s full-page illustrations provide just the right touch of magic.

 Countdown to Christmas: A Story a Day, Disney Press; $10.99, 64 pages, ages 3-8.

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This compendium of twenty-five stories includes characters from the wide world of Disney characters, from Bambi, the Aristocats, Wall-E, and the 101 Dalmatians. Serious Disney fans may notice some stories are repeats from the Five Minute Christmas Stories, but this update will surely please fans of the Mouse on your holiday list.

A Form Worthy of Its Contents: The Folio Society at 70

This year marks seventy years since The Folio Society began publishing beautiful editions of global literary classics. To mark the occasion, the publishing house is offering a showstopping selection of titles in its fall catalog–Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, a two-volume set of The Little Prince, and other great books. In addition, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is hosting an exhibition entitled The Artful Bookfeaturing illustrated books, bindings, and original artwork from the Folio Society’s vast archives. Highlights include commissions from illustrators like Quentin Blake, Sara Ogilvie, Kate Baylay, Neil Packer, and many others.

Folio Society’s Editorial Director Tom Walker recently spoke about the milestone year, how they put together this recent catalog, and how he hopes Folio Society will continue to honor the company creed of producing books “in a form worthy of their contents.” Come read the interview at the Fine Books Blog.

 

Endpaper Renaissance

Endpaper art is enjoying a renaissance of sorts. Back in 2012, Rebecca Barry profiled British professional marbler Jemma Lewis here on the FB blog, and after our recent story in the Fall print issue about the revival of endpapers, we thought it was time to check back in with Lewis and see what she’s been up to. We also heard from Julie Farquhar, the production manager at the Folio Society who produced the 2017 limited-edition of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories and which feature Lewis’ endpaper. Read all about how Lewis works her magic HERE.

“To Survive, You Must Believe:” American Gods Collector’s Edition

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean; Folio Society,  $120.00, 560 pages, ages 14+. 

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Illustration copyright 2017 Dave McKean. Reproduced with permission from Folio Society.
Fans of Neil Gaiman’s award-winning American Gods (2001), rejoice: the Folio Society has recently released a commemorative edition of the 560-page genre-crossing tale of myth, fantasy, and faith. The timing is spot-on; recently adapted for television, American Gods debuted last month on the Starz network to such fanfare that the show has already been renewed for a second season.

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Illustrsation copyright Dave McKean 2017. Reproduced with permission from Folio Society.
In the Folio Society edition of the book, Gaiman’s exploration of faith in ancient and modern mythology leaps off the pages with the assistance from longtime collaborator Dave McKean, who previously illustrated Gaiman’s Sandman and Violent Cases. Here, twelve surreal acrylic and cut paper illustrations, including three double-page spreads and an otherworldly slipcase design, create, as McKean writes in the introduction, “an off-kilter, unrealistic place, where perspective doesn’t work.”

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Illustration copyright 2017 Dave McKean. Reproduced with permission from Folio Society. 
For the uninitiated, American Gods centers around a recently released convict named Shadow, who wanders aimlessly after learning of his wife’s fatal car accident during his time in prison. Shadow hooks up with con man Mr. Wednesday, and together they travel across America encountering Mr. Wednesday’s various associates–manifestations of old gods from ancient mythology now half-forgotten and wholly unimportant to 21st century folk. Gaiman’s premise is that the gods only exist so long as people remember them, and some gods resort to desperate measures to remain relevant. While the old gods fade into memory, a new breed of gods have taken over the American psyche, ones who represent humankind’s newfound obsession with social media, narcissism, and sexual power. A battle is looming, and Mr. Wednesday (who turns out to be an incarnation of the Norse god Odin) is leading the charge in a fight for the soul of America.

The Folio Society’s version of American Gods includes Gaiman’s “preferred text,” from the 2003 edition as well as the introduction from the 2005 edition, and fans unable to procure a Hill House 2003 limited edition–which fetch anywhere from $450 to over $1,000 these days–will find $120 for the Folio Society’s American Gods a relative steal.

A Book-Lover’s Guide to St. Patrick’s Day – The Fine Books Blog

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, meaning Irish pubs from Boston to Dublin will be busier than usual and just about everyone will be sporting some sort of good luck charm. However, if the idea of day-drinking and parade-hopping turns you green, there’s still a few ways to let your inner Irish spirit free, even from the comfort of your own library. Check out the bibliophile’s guide to St. Patrick’s Day – The Fine Books Blog

Great Holiday Gifts for Grownups

Why should kids have all the fun this holiday season? It’s easy to forget the grownups during this hectic time of year, and checking off everyone on your list can get pricey. Consider giving the gift of great literature without breaking the bank: The Folio Society recently released a new series called Folio Collectibles, with four classic English-language titles (A Christmas Carol, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Frankenstein) produced especially for the lineup. Why these books? “We wanted to chose popular classics that everyone should have in their library across a range of genres, said Vicky Traino, Folio Society spokeswoman. “We think that they are the perfect gift to yourself or to introduce someone to the joys of books from The Folio Society.” I’m reading Doyle’s chilling crime caper, The Hound of the Baskervilles, complete with linocut reproductions by English artist and printmaker Edward Bawden (1903-1989), who was commissioned by the Folio Society in 1987 to produce six illustrations for the book. Perhaps as exciting about the Collectibles is their price: each soft-covered, flexibound volume retails for $34.95, and perfectly sized to tote around.

Most Folio Society editions are works of art in their own right, and, at least in my house, are handled with kid gloves. The Collectibles series easily lend themselves to cozying up by the fire, book in hand, and reveling in the joys of the season. Interested? Better act fast: Holiday order deadlines are December 9 (today) for regular delivery; December 14 for express.

The Iliad, by Homer, retold by Gillian Cross, illustrated by Neil Packer; Candlewick Press, $19.99 160 pages, ages 9 and up.

Rediscover Homer’s epic poem that pitted the ancient Greeks against the fearsome Trojans in this superb retelling of The Iliad by Carnegie Medalist Gillian Cross, who also refitted the Odyssey for a younger audience. Cross has managed to take this daunting work and wrangle a fluid and enjoyable version full of action and adventure. The book opens with helpful a character map and concludes with the Greek alphabet and an appendix dedicated to discussing whether or not the Iliad was based on a true story. Illustrator Neil Packer, who collaborated on Cross’s Odyssey (2012), returns here to render the scope of human emotions with his instantly recognizable gouache and pen and wash art. (His work ought to be familiar to Folio Society fans: previous commissions for that publishing house include Umberto Eco’s The Name of The Rose (2001) and 2004s illustrated version of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.) Here, Greeks and Trojans locked in eternal battle are rendered in bold colors and appear as if they’ve been plucked directly from some ancient amphora, and it’s wonderful. (Readers interested in seeing Packer’s art for themselves can do so through October 24 at the Illustration Cupboard in London.) Printed in a large-format volume, this Iliad is a welcome addition to the picture-book world, filling the void between overly sanitized editions and those with blood practically oozing from the binding. A masterful gift for the ages.