"A room without books is like a body without a soul." Cicero
A book is a miniature work of art. The author and illustrator have poured their love, sweat and tears into creating a story. It is a precious gift from someone's soul to yours. All you, the reader, need do is add your imagination.
For me there are some books that go beyond the equation of author plus illustrator equals story. They are the books that are wonderfully packaged with gorgeous hard cover bindings, a dust cover with an illustration that beckons "read me!", a built-in ribbon book mark, textured paper with an easy to read font (no too small, not too big) and delightful line drawings. These books are masterpieces. I think they deserve to be in art galleries around the world, along with paintings, sculptures and performance art.
These are some of my favourite book masterpieces:
I loved the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder when I was growing up. This is a gorgeous hardcover edition with full colour illustrations issued to celebrate the book's 75th anniversary. It also contains Laura's letters.
The Swallows and Amazons stories are classics of English children's literature and We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea is my personal favourite. I love these hardcover reissues of the classic stories and was super lucky to get this one for my most recent birthday.
Winnie the Pooh is well known by children all over the world. Largely due I suspect, to the characters being used by a very famous and well known American film studio. Nothing, however, can beat the charm of the original stories by A.A. Milne and illustrations by E.H. Shepherd. This particular edition is a firm family favourite as you can see by the battered state of the dust jacket.
I have a shocking confession to make. I didn't read any Roald Dahl books when I was growing up. I did however, see the movie of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. There seemed to be a time in my childhood when it was always on television. Now, whenever I read the book, I see the film character's in my head. I wish I had the chance to read it and create my own mental images. This is another of my oldest daughter's favrouite books as you can see by the well loved cover.
I love the Violet Mackerel stories. There's no dust cover for these books but they are still beautiful in every way. Each story has a little picture on the spine. The set looks lovely on the book shelf and the size is just right for little hands. I've seen the North American editions of the books and to my mind, a lot was lost in that particular translation.