Bodleian Children’s Books.
One of the UK and Ireland’s six copyright libraries, Oxford University’s Bodleian Library is home to the Opie Collection of Children's Literature – Britain’s largest collection of children’s literature – along with over 12 million items, ranging from early manuscripts, rare books, maps and postcards to the latest printed publications.
Bodleian Children’s Books will focus on mining the collections to discover and republish timeless and beautifully illustrated children’s books; forgotten gems that can be reintroduced to a new audience. It will also include newly commissioned books, with a connection to libraries, reading and books. Titles will be handsomely produced as attractive gift hardback editions, to be treasured for future generations. Samuel Fanous, the Bodleian Library’s Publisher, said: ‘Many children’s books from the twentieth century have that magic combination of timeless stories perfectly illustrated with gorgeous art which can fire the imagination, as many of us remember well from our own childhood. We aim to bring these to new audiences and commission new titles with a similar profile for young readers.’
The inaugural titles in the new children’s imprint are
Penguin’s Way and Whale’s Way, originally published in the 1960s, due for publication 18 September. Written by US author Johanna Johnston, and with stunning illustrations by Caldecott Prize winner Leonard Weisgard, these titles are a delightful introduction to the natural world of the emperor penguin and humpback whale, told in narrative form with vintage illustrations. Each title has a paper to board cover, cloth quarter binding and charming endpapers.
The Bodleian aims to publish at least two titles per season under the Bodleian Children’s Books imprint. The first for spring 2016 is
Veronica by Roger Duvoisin, again from the sixties; an enchanting tale about a hippo named Veronica who travels to the city and has a series of run-ins with the law. Duvoisin was a renowned Swiss-born American author-illustrator who created the Happy Lion and Petunia series of picture books, along with more than 40 other titles for children. He was awarded the Caldecott medal in 1947. The second spring title will be the children’s classic The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff. The adventures of Babar the little elephant have delighted generations of children ever since his first appearance in 1931. The Bodleian’s gift edition of this unforgettable children’s story, the first in the Babar series, will be the perfect opportunity to rediscover this charming tale and its perennially popular characters.