Sunday, July 31, 2022

Colorful covers and endpapers of 1926's "Granny Goose"

Today's images are from my rough copy of 1926's Granny Goose, which was written and illustrated by John Rae (1882-1963) and published by P.F. Volland Company. (I previously featured Volland's trippy The Paper Dragon in 2019.)

This is Volland's statement on its "ideal" from the last page of the book:
"It is the Volland Ideal to give children only the best. Books for children should contain nothing to cause fright, suggest fear, glorify mischief, excuse malice or condone cruelty. That is why Volland books are called 'Books Good for Children.' Teachers, instructors, psychologists and parents endorse and recommend Volland Books as the most wholesome and inspiring juvenile literature — stories and verse that inspire; pictures that glow with beauty. Volland Books are graded; each contains a card telling for what age it is planned."
P.F. Volland was in business from 1909 to 1959 and was known for collaborating with dozens of outstanding artists/illustrators. Rae's work certainly falls into that category with this slim hardcover book, which measures 9¼ inches by 11¾ inches. As a minor aside, the cover calls the book Granny Goose and the title page calls it Granny Goose! with an exclamation point.

Here's a look at the endpapers, which don't scrimp on the geese.
The verses featured in the book (which is more than 50% illustrations) include mentions of King Kittery Kottle, Saint Wittery Wattle, Benjamin Bottle, Dobbeley Hobbeley Cobbeley Cory, Billy Bragg, Ned Willings, Burberry Biddle, Kirley McHugh, Tibby Tuppets, Molly Mopperty, Billings Bridge, John O'Groat, Tumbletown, Whipsy-ma-diddle, Old Johnny Bumble Buckely-Knees and Betty Battle. Some of those names/phrases are familiar, but others seem to have sprung from John Rae's wonderful imagination. There are also many good band names in the above list.

Here's a look at a couple of the interior illustrations.
The scarecrow is actually a bit on the creepy side, as is the verse that accompanies the illustration. It involves a scarecrow strolling into town, the snow turning black, bright-red hail falling from the sky and the awakening of a withery witch who comes running with a slashing switch. How, exactly, does this fit in with Volland's pledge that "books for children should contain nothing to cause fright (or) suggest fear"?

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