Thursday, 2 April 2009

Off the shelf: Walter Crane 2

Walter Crane was working at the end of the 19th century and is best known (by me) for his illustrations to fairytales such as The Frog Prince. He’s ranked (not by me) alongside Randolph Caldecott for his contribution to English children's illustration, but lacks his sympathy, warmth and humour. He fits in more with the po-faced Arts and Crafts crowd, led by William Morris.
This is the first page of the Second Primer, which covers the vowels ‘i’ to ‘u.’ Illustrating the text must have been quite a task. I wonder how long it took Crane to realise that Neddy was a donkey. Pat may have trouble spinning his top in the sand, and Lily will find it difficult to get a cup of milk to sip at the seaside. Their lives have been made complicated by the suffocating strictures of alphabetic principle and phonemic awareness - poor dears.

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