Blog 02.20.2022

In High Praise Of Exceptional Literary Illustrations

We all know that children’s literature and fairy tales stay with us who read them for a lifetime and, more than just the words, it’s the images they conjure that matter. There’s nothing better than gorgeous, fantastical illustrations to make a story complete, and they linger in the imaginations of children and adults alike! Let’s take the time to admire the work of these legendary artists—for ourselves and the kids in our lives.

  • Warwick Goble— (1862- 1943) was a famous English illustrator whose work dealt largely with Japanese and Indian themes. He is most remembered for his illustrations detailing whimsical fairies, maidens with long, flowing hair, and the wild, untamed ocean. His most famous illustrations can be seen within these books: The Water Babies (1909), Beauty and the Beast (1913), Folk Tales of Bengal (1912), The Fairy Book (1913), The Book of Fairy Poetry (1920), and The Complete Poetical Works of Geoffrey Chaucer (1912). 

  • Edmund Dulac (1882-1953) was a British/French illustrator most well-known and beloved for his striking illustrations of mermaids, castles, and fairy princesses. He is associated with the artistic movement “Orientalism.” His pretty pictures can be seen within the pages of Stories from Hans Christian Andersen (1911) (including The Mermaid, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Princess and the Pea) and Stories from the Arabian Nights (1907). Don’t forget to check out Full Cycle Publications’ blog posts on The Arabian Nights/One Thousand and One Nights and Hans Christian Andersen.

  • Clement Hurd (1908-1988) was an American artist known for his collaborations with Margaret Wise Brown: Together, they created children’s all-time favorites, Goodnight Moon (1947) and The Runaway Bunny (1942). These beloved picture books are the ultimate in bedtime reading and remain classics of the genre. The colorful and cozy illustrations are what truly makes these books come alive: we all remember the green walls, striped curtains, bright red balloon floating in the corner, and the baby bunny tucked into bed while mother bunny sits, knitting, in a rocking chair and kittens play with a spool of yarn.  


  • Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) is an exemplary literary figure and was massively popular during the Golden Age of British book illustration (this was when publishers were able to produce colorful illustrations for the first time). Known for his illustrations accompanying Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels into Several Remote Corners of the World, and William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Rackham truly helped make these classics come alive in a way that was unthinkable upon original publication. His illustrations for the Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm in 1917 were revolutionary in their dark and mystical nature. The trees literally come alive and almost leap off the page! 

  • John Bauer (1882-1918) was a Swedish painter known for his artworks that accompanied Swedish folklore and fairytales. His mythological illustrations for The Princess and the Trolls (1913), A Forest Troll (1913), and The Fairy Princess (1904) are fantastically magical and unique. Bauer’s trolls are oversized woodland creatures that are, at once, almost comical, endearing, and completely original. 

For more information on some of the children’s classics mentioned in this blog, visit Full Cycle Publications’ links below: 

https://www.fullcyclepublications.com/childrens-classics-fables-by-hans-christian-andersen/

https://www.fullcyclepublications.com/one-thousand-and-one-nights-origins-of-fantasy/

For more information on the Golden Age of Illustration, consult the link below:

https://www.peterharrington.co.uk/blog/the-golden-age-of-illustration-arthur-rackham/#:~:text=Arthur%20Rackham%20(1867%E2%80%931939),illustrations%20for%20the%20first%20time.

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