Special Collections: Illustrated children's books that for one reason or another (scarce, i.e. difficult to replace; fragile; those which I would really REALLY be angry if torn by a baby/toddler) require special care/housing and which shall be safeguarded as far as possible.
In other words, THEY'RE MY FAVORITES!
I do let my kids look at them and read them, because what's the point of having them if we don't get to read them? But I keep them on the higher shelf and try my best to keep them there if not in use. Now these are not necessarily my favorite story books, but my favorite ILLUSTRATED books. There's a difference.
Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone
They are (some of) my favorite illustrators. I have 5 (well, 6, but one is sort of a repeat of another) of their books. And I have about 370 more on my wishlist. I think their nursery rhyme books are the ones that are circulating the most, so perhaps you may have seen them.
I have Dean's Mother Goose Book of Rhymes.
This is one of my favorites--I just love this little blue guy with his blue eggs.
I think maybe the next book I got was Dean's Gift Book of Cowboys and Indians. I LOVE the pictures in this. Both the cowboys and the Indians are just awesome. Talmage has me read this to him a lot, even though it's totally not a story, just random info, and who knows if it's even legit info at that. But it doesn't matter because it's all about the pictures.
Next I got A Year of Poetry, which includes a poem and illustration for each month. The pictures are just beautiful--more detailed than the illustrations in the nursery rhyme books. The Johnstone sisters were daughters of a costume designer (and a portraitist), and they studied period clothing styles. You can see it in all of their work, but in this book in particular you can see how they've somehow drawn the smocking on the shirts and the texture of the corduroy or so on, just amazingly. I had the hardest time trying to NOT pick every picture in the book, and actually I'm kind of sad now that I didn't take pictures of more.
Then I bought a fairy tales collection, but I should have done better research and gotten a book that included more fairy tales. Oh well. Mine is called Dean's Gift Book of Fairy Tales.
Finally, the book I got most recently is called Folk Tales of the World, and I love it. I hadn't ever seen any of the pictures before on the internet or anything. It's got some different stuff-both pictures and stories- that are so awesome! My kids have loved reading this together.
And that is all I have from the Johnstones, but as I said before, my Wishlist is forever long, including more fairy tales, Peter Pan, Greek and Trojan stories, Myths, more nursery rhymes, alphabet books, Christmas books... just all. All the books. Please don't buy anything by them, because then it will lower the selection for myself. However, if you wanted to make me really happy on my birthday or Christmas... ;)