Wednesday, 14 November 2007

The Enchanted Forest

Last week, Lily and I finished reading my favourite childrens's book, The Enchanted Forest illustrated by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite and written by her husband Grenby Outhwaite. Its a gorgeous book published in 1921, all about fairies but set in the Australian bush with gum trees and teddy bears that are really koalas. I'd long anticipated the time when Lily would be old enough to appreciate it. She really enjoyed the story of little Anne who tumbles into the Enchanted Forest looking for her lost pet rabbit and finds she has turned into a fairy herself. Ida Rentoul Outhwaite was apparently the first Australian children's book illustrator to find fame overseas and her illustrations are just magical.

I was given the book by my grandmother, who was given it on her first birthday. Or at least that's what I remember. It wasn't until I was an adult that I discovered that my cousin Jo also had fond memories of reading this wonderful book at the family beach cottage. So I hope I didnt just pop it in my suitcase at the end of a long summer holiday at the beach. My apologies, Jo, if I did!

Here are a couple of the lovely illustrations


10 comments:

Rose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rose said...

Wow...be careful with that book! It's worth over $1300!
http://tinyurl.com/2q6zjz

Rose said...

I deleted my first comment because the URL was too long-- I did manage to grab a more recent publication for 50 bucks!
Can't wait to read it to my little ones --thank you for the tip! Still getting over the worth of your original copy, though. Maybe you should purchase a backup :)

Penny said...

Is it really? I must get Lily to be even more careful with it. We only read it when Jasper is asleep. I hope you and your boys enjoy it - let me know what you think :)

Jo said...

No, I'm sure she gave it to you Pen! And, you know, I'm glad that book lives in a home which has a little girl! Gran must have second sight! In the last few years she gave me a lovely Dickens...so beautiful it's in Mum and Dad's glass case for safe keeping.

Martin bought me a more recent Ida Rentoul Outwaite re-issue with many of the same dreamy delicate pictures featuring pre-Raphelite fairies, foam and flowers. Thank you for reminding me to look again!
Her world is a lot how I imagine my fantasy cat story should look, and I just hadn't realized. I felt a delightful shock of double recognition gazing at your web-page...so beautiful how could I have forgotten her!...and...so that is where I found those faces, that palette (every book has a palette!) and that indescribable (but I'll try) whimsical earnest feeling.

love Jo

mammaclaudia said...

That book looks beautiful. And the memories it reminds, the family history it contains... that's priceless!

Penny said...

Thanks Jo. I think you described them beautifully - no surprises there. There is just something about her illustrations and now I really appreciate the australian aspects of it.

The Late Bloomer said...

WOW, that does sound like a wonderful story, and the intricate illustrations are lovely... I am hoping to share my favorite children's stories with my own one day. I've loved and still love children's books so much, all my life. And I agree that the memories attached to the books and stories are even more special.

Melbourne to Metz said...

wow beautiful illustrations! 1300? Wow. I'd love to see you on Antique Roadshow.

Penny said...

Antique roadshow - now that's a great sunday afternoon timewaster - I loved that show :)