Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Horace J Knowles and the Land of Goodness Knows Where

I've been unable to find another copy of this on the web or in any bookseller catalogues. If you happen to know the whereabouts of another copy, I would love to hear from you.


The Land of Goodness Knows where is a beautifully illustrated book written by Muriel Pedley with a colour frontis and numerous full page and in-text drawings by Horace J. Knowles. This is the first and probably only edition of a fantasy story published in 1923 (according to Copac). If the date given by Copac is correct it means this book was published two years before Peeps into Fairyland (cited as one of the finest and most detailed fairy books). Peeps into Fairyland was written and illustrated by Horace J Knowles in 1925. So was this book the inspiration for Peeps into Fairyland? I have no idea, but I'm rather hoping someone out there may know.


Timothy the little boy in the story is very upset over the loss of Foostani Ramdah his nice fat old toy elephant. When he asks nurse where the elephant is she shrugs her shoulders and leaves the nursery mumbling 

"Goodness knows where!"


After thinking about this for a while Timothy mutters "I wish I could go to Goodness Knows Where, and find him!" "Quite possible!" replies a thin voice. "Perfectly simple I assure you – just go down the Fir Cone alley, third turning to the right, second to the left, knock at the Beech Tree Door, and Foostani Ramdah will uncurl the trunk and let you in." "Foostani Ramdah has a nice trunk, hasn't he” replies Timothy. "Pretty well, pretty well, but not a quarter as nice as the Beech Trees trunk" replies the same little voice.



In the land of ‘the other side of the door’ Timothy meets the twins Bob and Jig, travels to the ‘Garden of the Minutes that have Passed’, meets a rabbit (shades of Alice in Wonderland) The King and Queen (more Alice) and all kinds of elves and fairies.




The Land Of Goodness Knows Where written by Muriel Pedley with illustrations by Horace J. Knowles. Published by George Newnes, London. Hardback book with original (worn) dustjacket 8.5 x 7 inches with 117 pages.

The land of Goodness Knows Where is now sold, thank you for your interest. 

Have you read this or anything else written by Muriel Pedley? Do you have a favourite fantasy story?

30 comments:

  1. I've not heard of this before but the illustrations are so special! x

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  2. I'm glad you like them. Thanks so much for calling in.

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  3. Aren't you lucky to have come across this book! It is simply fabulous and I will have to of course pin it to my fairy board! I hope you find a collector who can't live without it. It is rare and beautiful indeed!

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    1. Thanks Diane, I’m a big fan of Pinterest, so I’m delighted you are going to pin this one.

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  4. I don't know about anyone else but the top picture reminds me of Richard Dadd's The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke. What a magical little book! I had never heard of Muriel Pedley before. Thanks, Barbara, for bringing us this little piece of fairyland.

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    1. So it does! The colours are very different but there is something about the ‘exotic’ looking fairies and the fact that there is so much going on in both pictures. Well spotted.

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  5. Hi Barbara

    What a little beauty of a book and it has a dust jacket. I've never heard of the book or Muriel Pedley before.

    I hope you find some further information about the author, at first I thought it was an Enid Blyton book going by the Title.

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    1. Hi Michelle, it’s funny you should say that I thought exactly the same thing. There are some similarities between this book, and a story called The Land of Far-Beyond written by Enid Blyton in 1942 (I think) and oddly enough that was also illustrated by Horace Knowles. The plot thickens!

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  6. I haven't heard of this book nor the author, but the book looks gorgeous. What beautiful and magical illustrations!!

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    1. Thank you Hilde, I think so too. Thanks for taking the time to call in. Barbara

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  7. I don't know this book Barbara, or don't remember it. It looks lovely though! I would have loved this as a child.

    May I ask if you are familiar at all with the 'Belinda' books? I had some, or at least one, when I was about four or five years old, (about fifty years ago now). All I remember about them (or it), was a girl called Belinda who lived in, or visited the woods, where she could talk to all the woodland animals who were her friends? I've always remembered how magical that was for me.

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    1. Hello Sandy, thanks for calling in.
      I’m wondering if the Belinda Books you are referring to are the ones by Ivy Wallace. A little girl called Belinda lives in Bluebell Wood with her father the wood cutter. The woodland creatures are her friends, but Pookie (a little white rabbit with wings) is her favourite of all the animals. The first book, simply called Pookie was originally published in 1946, there were nine other books in the series published between 1947 and 1966. I have a page dedicated to these books with lots of images at
      http://marchhousebooks.co.uk/pookie-by-ivy-wallace
      I hope these are the ones but if not let me know and I will have another think. Barbara

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    2. Barbara, you have no idea how excited I am!! Thank you so much - I can see that I asked exactly the right person! I am sure that these are the book/s I remember from childhood. I remember the illustrations of Belinda in her brown dress - and the soft look on her face :) I was only about 4 or 5 - it was before my parents divorced and we moved away from where I had been born, and I don't know what happened to the book/s after that. It was before I could read and I don't remember the stories but I have always remembered the magic of them! I have found some copies here in Australia that I can afford, so I have ordered four. I would have loved to buy them from your store, but in this case the price difference with the pound and dollar was more than double - I hope you don't mind. I will watch your site for more of them in the future :) I have enjoyed your Blog but actually hadn't realised until now what a fabulous book store you are! I am so looking forward to sharing these books with our three daughters who all love children's books, and our 7 grandchildren :) I can't tell you how much I appreciate it! Thank you so much for your help!! :)

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    3. Hi Sandi,
      I don’t mind at all I was very glad to help. It certainly makes sense to buy in your own country if you can – you save on shipping if nothing else. We visit Australia every now and again and are always surprised at how low some of the book prices are. Of course prices also depend on condition. I try to stock the best quality I can find as many are bought by collectors who just want to display them on their shelves. The Pookie books are lovely and I’m sure your daughters and grandchildren will love them. Best wishes Barbara

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  8. Never heard of this before but I love the illustrations!

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    1. Thanks Joleene, that's exactly how I feel. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Barbara.

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  9. ~How enchanting, Barbara....and the writing so poetic. ~Easy p easy, my favourite all time Children's magical adventures are...The Far Away Tree By Enid Blyton! ooh I was brought up on these and some times wonder if I am in those enchanted woods with the sauce pan man and moon face now...hehe...Thanks for evoking sweet, sweet, memories....~ with 'Twinkles'** Maria x

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    1. Hello Maria, when I close my eyes, I’m back among those ‘whispering’ trees, and it doesn’t take much imagination to hear the clanging of saucepan man’s pans! Such wonderful childhood memories, made even better by sharing. Barbara x

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  10. Great illustrations , a beautiful entry Barbara, you always bring something fresh and new ;)

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    1. Thank you Aunt Mary. I loved your last post about the poor little elephant. He's been on my mind ever since. A good moral and one I will try to remember!

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  11. Oh my kindness, not a book or author I'm familiar with but those illustrations are something else.

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    1. Hello, Petty I agree - the illustrations are superb. Your visit and comments are always appreciated, thank you. Barbara

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  12. These pictures are absolutely beautiful. I wish I had the information that you are looking for- but I don't. I hope someone else does. Thanks for sharing! :

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    1. Hi Stephanie, I have a feeling that the information is lost in the mist of time. But it was worth asking the question in the hope that someone somewhere knows something! Thanks for commenting.

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  13. Oh, those black and white PEEPS into fairyland are just my style. I have illustrated some images in a similar style, trying to capture the vintage feel for I love this style! HI BARBARA! Thank you so much for coming to visit my post and for your kind words. We are having sleet here and warm thoughts and friends are always welcomed! Enjoy a lovely day, Anita

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  14. Hello Anita, your beautiful blog provides a ray of sunshine whatever the weather. If I can return even a tiny bit of that, then I’m very happy. Thank you for your lovely comment.

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  15. What a wonderful fantasy read. I love these kinds of books.

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  16. Hi Donna, It’s difficult to understand why it was never republished and is so little known. It’s a sweet story with beautiful illustrations.

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  17. What a truly beautiful book Barbara - I've also never seen a copy before. The illustrations are incredible - its an absolute gem!

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  18. Hello Sharon,
    I had a feeling you would like this one it is very special.
    Thanks for visiting, I think about your often and wonder how you are settling into your new home.

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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