The Water Babies – Illustrated by A. E. Jackson
This edition of Charles Kingsley’s The Water-Babies – A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby was originally published in 1920. The story was extremely popular in England and was a mainstay of British children’s literature for many decades.
In this children’s fairy tale, Tom, a chimney sweep, falls into a river and metamorphoses into a ‘water baby’. The story follows his adventures and experiences after his transformation, and the moral and spiritual lessons he learns throughout his ‘evolution’. Given the novel’s emergence during the Victorian era, it has been described as a didactic fable, allegorically referring to many themes, such as the prejudices and exploitative child work practices of the time, in addition to underlying Christian expressions of moral struggle and redemption. This classic text is celebrated as a significant work of both children’s fiction and scientific satire.
We are republishing this famous story in a vibrant new edition, complete with reproductions of the artwork and colour plates, as originally illustrated by A. E. Jackson.
Jackson was an immensely talented illustrator who utilised a delicate, yet colourful technique. Muted blues, purples and pinks are most frequently found in his artwork – combined with a thorough appreciation of line and form. He also illustrated bestselling editions of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1914), Tales from the Arabian Nights (1920), and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1921).