Harry Potter Magical Wand

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Childhood Memories

I grew up in Africa in the 1960's.  The books that shaped my childhood came from England.  The paper dolls I loved to play with were published largely in America.  My childhood was therefore a glorious amalgamation of all three continents.

I've recently discovered a number of blogs celebrating the wonderful children's illustrators of that period.  They have brought me so much enjoyment I've decided to add some memories of my own.  I'm new to doing this so forgive me if my initial attempts are a bit clumsy.  What I'm trying to contribute are some of my favourite stories, paper dolls and illustrations that are not so easily found anywhere else.

This is the first story I can remember that opened up a world of magic and enchantment, filling me with a sense of wonder which remained constant throughout my childhood.  It appeared in the 1965 Jack and Jill Christmas Annual and was called the Golden Ball:


 


Ron Embleton - The Golden Ball

The artist was the brilliant childrens' illustrator, Ron Embleton (1930-1988.)  It was only many years later as an adult that I realised he was the connecting link between many of the images that shaped my childhood and to which I return even today with admiration and awe.

Paper dolls are such a simple concept, but the imagination and skill of the artists who produced them have left a legacy that appears undiminished with time.  I've started collecting some of those I remember from long ago.  This Saalfield "Dolls from Storyland" by Hilda Miloche was one of my all time favourites:



I've included the first three pages now, I'll add the rest next time.

Ireland has been my home for the past 10 years.  With all the snow we had before Christmas it was like living in a fairy tale of our own.  This is the view from my office which is behind Dublin Castle.  Sometimes it felt like working at Hogwarts.

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