This book came in the mail today – a purchase that I thought of as a second choice. As a child I as very attached to The Tall Book of Make Believe, with illustrations by Garth Williams, a book that is out of print and rare – I am convinced because most copies (like ours) were read until they fell to pieces. The Giant Book of Elves and Fairies has been reprinted and can be had for about $20.00. Opening the book up, I realized that we had this volume in the family library as well, and that I knew every page by heart. Garth Williams, along with Maurice Sendak, were illustrator heroes of mine. Any book they illustrated was loved and cherished, read over and over again. The Tall Book of Make Believe has haunting illustrations that include some dark and strange imagery. This book’s glory is the story collection, with images that all come from the same imagined fairyland, the one that overlaps with our world in thin places.
I remember reading these stories aloud to my sisters as they were read aloud to me by our mother. Slightly skewed, Williams world is so rich and furry and well imagined that it endured intact in my imagination – something to shoot for as an illustrator.