The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley was a nursery staple in England long after it was first published in 1863. This copy, which turned up for me at the flea market this week, is inscribed "1923." Almost an antique at ninety years old! This fairy tale novel with a moral message has been through a great number of printings with various illustrators since then. W. H. Lister illustrated this copy, but I found that all but two of the illustrations have been removed. I bought it for two dollars, very close to its actual current value I imagine. But I see that it was once priced at thirty five.
Seeing that it has no publishing date, I gave a look online to see if it was possibly a first edition. Almost four hundred entries later, and under hypnosis, I had to take a nap after all that scrolling! But I still didn't find my edition. No matter. I got it just for it's old book charm.
Loretta Gardner was gifted this little gem for Christmas by her Mother in 1923. I love the dreamy bird and cloud sketches of the end papers. It seems to have been both very well read and cared for.
Very well worn after nearly a hundred years!
I also found it amusing to find water marks on the pages of a book with the title, The Water Babies.
I never owned this book, but I have seen it in the collections of others. Tons of folks of a certain generation grew up with some edition of it on their shelf, and there are still tons in existence.
Old children's books are so adorable! And the samples of other illustrations of this story that I saw on line are so fanciful. Did you have a copy as a child? The books we owned as a children can leave such a lasting impression. My Mother is long gone, but I can still hear her "reading voice" as she read to me as a child. I wonder if my own children will remember mine. . . .
We had a windy day here in the land of enchantment. A sure sign of spring coming on! Cheers to you!