Monday, 31 July 2017

Paper Dolls from the 1950s - 80s and a Royal Wedding

Are you a fan of paper dolls and/or weddings? If so you are in the right place today! I’m going to share a couple of my paper dolls from the 1950s, one from the 70s and finally a Royal Wedding (paper doll style). 

The Dresses of England a souvenir from the Festival of Britain [1951] is from the Muse Arts 'New Fabric' series. The illustrations are by Lottie Gorn, and the accompanying story about two children called John and Elizabeth is by Dora Nash.






Dresses From Many Lands is another from the Muse Arts series. I’m not sure if you can tell from the photographs, but the dresses really do feel as if they are made from fabric. I love the dolls in this one because they are so reminiscent of the actual dolls I played with as a child.







This magic wand dressing doll is from the 1970s. It comes with a ‘wand’ and according to the instructions, ‘everything stays in its proper place once rubbed down with the magic wand’. Well maybe it did once, but not any more. This ‘magic wand’ has definitely lost its potency!  I know the old-fashioned paper tabs are liable to tear but a bit of sticky tape quickly resolves the problem. I’m not sure this ‘new and improved’ paper doll will ever function properly again.



Chuck & Di Have a Baby with dolls of Charles, Diana and new baby (dressed in yellow) together with V.I.P visitors such as Grandma Barbara Cartland and Mrs.Thatcher. It's full of clothes for every occasion, including the engagement, wedding, on the town, yachting, baby’s christening, high life at Highgrove and looking ahead.





What a shame the fairy tale didn’t come true.

We were in London just before the wedding when it felt like the whole country was ready to party. Those were the days when policemen walked around with ice lollies rather than guns... 







This is me with Steve (our son) thirty-six years ago! Steve now has four children of his own. I’ve no idea where those years went, but I can tell you they went quickly. 

Do you have happy memories of the Royal Wedding or the 1980s?

Monday, 24 July 2017

I opened a book ...


and in I strode.
Now nobody can find me.


I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.


I’m wearing the cloak, I’ve slipped on the ring,
I’ve swallowed the magic potion.


I’ve fought with a dragon, dined with a king
And dived in a bottomless ocean.




I opened a book and made some friends.
I shared their tears and laughter


And followed their road with its bumps and bends
To the happily ever after.


I finished my book and out I came.

The cloak can no longer hide me.


My chair and my house are just the same,
But I have a book inside me.


Poem:  Julia Donaldson, from Crazy Mayonnaisy Mum, first published 2004 by Macmillan Children’s Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers International Limited.  With thanks to Willie for sharing the poem and to Pexels for the images.  (All images licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license).


Monday, 17 July 2017

Personal Inscriptions in Words and Pictures

Kate Greenaway
Kate Greenaway

When I first got into book collecting I only looked for children’s books published during the so called ‘Golden Age of Children’s Literature’ (the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries).  This was when picture books came to the fore mostly due to the improvements in lithography and early photolithography. Walter Crane, Kate Greenaway, Randolph Caldecott and Arthur Rackham are the people most readily associated with the ‘Golden Age’.Other names you may be familiar with are Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielsen, Willy Pogany and Ida Rentoul Outhwaite.
Ida Rentoul Outhwaite - Elves & Fairies
Ida Rentoul Outhwaite 

Now I collect books of all kinds, new, old, with or without pictures, fiction or non fiction.  All are precious to me, but those with a little 'added extra' in the form of an original drawing or personal inscription must rate highly on my list of favourites.


The Dragon Whisperer Lucinda Hare
The Dragon Whisperer Lucinda Hare

I’ve yet to read The Dragon Whisperer, but it doesn’t stop me drooling over this wonderful hand drawn dragon. To be honest I’m rather loath to read it because I would like to keep it pristine. I may well buy a second unsigned copy to read.

Katie Cleminson Box of Tricks
Monty the polar bear from the Box of Tricks by Katie Cleminson

In The Box of Tricks by Katie Cleminson Eva is given a very special present. She Opens it, jumps in and becomes a master magician. TA-DAH! This is a truly beautiful book, and the original drawing and signature make it that extra bit special.

I have a large collection of books by my sweet friend, author and illustrator Nicole de Cock

Nicole de Cock Het Jaar Yan de das

They are all very dear to me made more so by the sweet messages from Nicole. 

Nicole de Cock


Nicole de Cock

Nicole de cock Zullen we spelen, Bout?

Nicole de Cock

The one that follows is extra special because Nicole sent it after our much-loved little dog died.
Nicole de Cock Bout en Moertje

When I opened the front cover, I found this and wept happy tears along with the sad ones. 

Nicole de Cock

Emily Gravett has written and illustrated numerous children's books, and I have many of them on my shelves. When I spotted this one at a car boot sale, I was more than happy to pay the seller the asking price of 10p. I didn’t realise it was signed until I got it home. A bargain I think you will agree.

Meerkat Mail Emily Gravett

Meerkat Mail Emily Gravett


26a Diana Evans
In 26a identical twins, Georgia and Bessi live in the loft of 26 Waifer Avenue. Their Nigerian mother puts cayenne pepper on Yorkshire pudding, and their father roams the streets of Neasden, prey to the demons of his Derbyshire upbringing. Forced to create their own identities, the children build a separate universe. Older sister Bel discovers sex, high heels, and organic hairdressing; the twins prepare for a flapjack empire; and baby sister Kemy learns to moonwalk like Michael Jackson

I love the story and the inscription by Diana Evans. 
Inscription in 26a Diana Evans

The final book in this selection is special because of the dedication. I can't tell you how excited I was when I first saw it.  Fame at last! đŸ˜€ 


Kongomato Roger Lawrence
If you've not read Kongomato you are missing out on a treat. I loved it as did this reviewer on Amazon: 

"Roger Lawrence's Kongomato is horror most primal. Scary, vivid, quite horribly brilliant as you are carried on and on into the terrifying adventure a young scientist is forced to take, not only by his conscience when his friend disappears but also by The Prime Minister of England himself. Dinosaurs in the 21st century? How can we take it seriously? Read this book and find out why for yourself...if you dare! This reader is still shaken from the experience. Theresa Dawn Sinclair"

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If you are considering collecting signed books as an investment, it's worth remembering not all inscriptions add value.

For example, to a collector of a specific author, a signed presentation copy inscribed to them will be a unique item and of special value. Previously, this type of inscription may have been seen to be of greater value and interest as there may have been a story behind the inscription. But, with the increase of book signing events, these items are more common today. If you are interested in collecting signed books as an investment, then look for copies without personal inscriptions.

However, there is an exception to this rule: A book signed and inscribed by an author to a person equally famous or more famous than the author is likely to have significantly more value. 

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Do you collect signed books?  If not is that because you have no interest in them, or because you prefer your books to be unmarked?

If you are an author do you enjoy signing books or find it a chore? 
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