It’s World Poetry Day! Our Pook’s Picks for World Poetry Day takes a look at our verse books, beautiful poetry books for children illustrated by Walter Crane.
The collection below features five books from the ‘Toy Books‘ of the late Victorian Era, printed by Edmund Evans. They were among the first illustrated storybooks for children, Walter Crane was a featured illustrator for this series, alongside such names as Randolph Caldecott and Kate Greenaway. Crane’s work is characteristically colourful and beautifully detailed, his illustrated books are incredibly sought after today as some of the most excellent examples of Golden Age art.
These picture books feature some of the all-time favourite stories and nursery rhymes re-imagined in verse – accompanied by beautiful illustrations by Walter Crane; we couldn’t think of a better way to get involved for World Poetry Day.
1. Mother Hubbard Her Picture Book – containing Mother Hubbard, The Three Bears & the Absurd ABC – Illustrated by Walter Crane.
This charming book is a collection of well-loved children’s stories, including Mother Hubbard, The Three Bears, and The Absurd ABC. The short verses allow perfect reading for children, accompanied by the full-colour plate illustrations from Walter Crane; it is a lovely introduction to poetry.
Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
to get her poor dog a bone;”
2. The Buckle My Shoe Picture Book – containing One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, a Gaping-Wide-Mouth-Waddling Frog, My Mother – Illustrated by Walter Crane
This picture book contains the tales of Buckle My Shoe, The Gaping Wide-Mouth Waddling Frog, and My Mother. Three completely different tales, each one written in simple children’s verse, they are linked by good-natured humour that runs throughout.
Three monkeys tied to a log,
Two puddings’ ends, would choke a dog,
Or a gaping, wide-mouthed, waddling frog.”
3. Cinderella Picture Book – containing Cinderella, Puss in Boots, Valentine & Orson – Illustrated by Walter Crane
The Cinderella Picture Book holds the well-known and loved tales of Cinderella, Puss in Boots, and Valentine and Orson, written in more of a story format rather than nursery rhymes. Charles Perrault penned the first two tales in the 17th century, Valentine and Orson date back further to a 14th-century romantic song that tells the stories of twin brothers abandoned in the woods in infancy.
I know that you are sad, and that your sisters are unkind;
Now go and fetch me the largest pumpkin you can find.”
4. The Song of Sixpence Picture Book – containing Sing a Song of Sixpence, Princess Belle Etoile, An Alphabet of Old Friends – Illustrated by Walter Crane
The Song Of Sixpence Picture Book contains the stories, Sing A Song Of Sixpence, Princess Belle Etoile and An Alphabet Of Old Friends. Containing two rhymes – Sing A Song For Sixpence – a well-known English nursery rhyme, and An Alphabet Of Old Friends, the second story Princess Belle Etoile is from french writer Madame d’Aulney, and is a French fairy tale full of princesses, a hateful queen mother and a fairy disguised as a turtle-dove. Shop Now
Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty black-birds,
Baked in a pie.
5. The Sleeping Beauty Picture Book – containing The Sleeping Beauty, Blue Beard, The Baby’s Own Alphabet – Illustrated by Walter Crane
Long, long ago, in ancient times, there lived a King and Queen,
And for the blessing of a child their longing sore had been;
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