Sunday, 27 August 2017

Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll and Graeme Base

The second in my series of posts about illustrators.

I bought this version of Jabberwocky specifically for the illustrations, having discovered it during a Pinterest trawl. Graeme Base is an Australian artist, and brings an exoticism to the poem which works well with the verbal inventiveness of the text. Strange beasts and birds frolic through the pages (gyring and gimbling in the wabe?), while the beamish young knight sets forth on his charger, eventually to encounter the Jabberwock.

What more can I say? If you love this poem as much as I do, then I think you'll enjoy the colour and vivacity of the artwork, and if you've already got multiple versions, I'm sure you won't mind adding another. If you don't know the poem - well then, you ought to. Go and find it.

 If you've got young children in the family, you might look out for the pop-up version.

Base has illustrated quite a number of exquisite books for children, including a superb alphabet, Animalia, which would enhance any child's learning. It's hard to choose a letter to illustrate just how wonderful it is, but there was a nicely bookish one which seems appropriate for a book blogger:

It's no surprise that Base loves illustrating dragons, too, and has produced a book - The Discovery of Dragons - solely on the subject (answering, I feel, a real and much overdue need for a identification guide to these fascinating creatures - and yes, I know Lady Trent has tried to rectify this omission, but her Natural History is a weighty tome for the field, and has a regrettable tendency to stray into memoir).

Base takes a lot of pleasure in words, too - some of his books are in verse - and I'm rather hoping someone might buy me The Sign of the Seahorse for Christmas, as it looks enchanting. So, too, does The Legend of the Golden Snail. Not all his books are available new, but secondhand copies can be readily found online.

Finally, if anyone wants a preview of some of the illustrators who might come up in this series of posts, a look at my Pinterest board may be informative (at the very least you'll learn that I like pictures of animals!)


  1. Oh my goodness! I am a huge Graeme Bass fan! I was introduced to him by a friend showing me Anamalia, and that was all it took! I thought I had all his books The Discovery of Dragons, but I hadn't seen any of these! Obviously the man's been busy while I wasn't looking. Thanks for bringing me out of denial -- I'll have to see about acquiring all the others.

  2. Great illustrations for Jabberwocky - I remember trying to draw all the creatures when I was little - found them much easier to draw than 'real' things! Another great dragon book is Peter Dickinson's The Flight of Dragons, also wonderfully illustrated by Wayne Anderson in not-dissimilar style .. . and of course there's a Dragon Reclamation Yard somewhere north of Oxford - have always thought I should go in andd ger a secondhand one . . .