Vintage Christmas Books by Margaret Wise Brown (Part 2)

Yesterday, I posted about two of the vintage Margaret Wise Brown Christmas books I found in the depths of my local library.  Today, I'm going to show you two more.

A Pussycat's Christmas by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Helen Stone.
Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1949.
A Pussycat's Christmas is the oldest of the books we checked out.  The illustrator here is Helen Stone, who also illustrated Tell Me, Mr. Owl, blogged about here.  This one is simple:  Christmastime from a cat's point-of-view.  The cat sees Santa, is blocked from being in the room with the tree, and hears carolers while everyone sleeps.  

There is a reissue by HarperCollins from 2009, illustrated by Anne Mortimer.

And last we have On Christmas Eve.  This one appears to have come out in 1961, eight years after Brown's unexpected death.  There is an original copyright date of 1938, but I can find no earlier listings for the book.  Perhaps it was a magazine story?  

On Christmas Eve by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Beni Montresor.
Harper & Row, 1961.
On Christmas Eve is a fitting companion for A Pussycat's Christmas.  It is the tale of children who cannot sleep on Christmas Eve, so they sneak downstairs.  They look at the decorations, the filled stockings, the packages, and hear carolers outside.  The wonder and magic of the night is captured through the text.  The illustrations are stark and simple, on orange paper, by Beni Montresor, best-known in the children's book world for May I Bring A Friend?

On Christmas Eve was reissued in 1996 by HarperCollins, with illustrations by Nancy Edwards Calder.  The reissue appears to be out-of-print.

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  1. Beautiful! All of them. But I love the look of the last one, with the orange background. Why do all the reissues have different illustrators? Some kind of copyright reason? Now I will go and check my faithful friend, the book depository to see which of these I can find.

    1. I know that a lot of Margaret Wise Brown manuscripts were never published. Her sister held onto them for years, until publishers were finally interested. Mainly HarperCollins, who published much of her best-known work in her lifetime. So new, never-before-published books were seeing the light of day, with illustrations by newer illustrators. I suppose in the cases of now-forgotten vintage published works, it might have made sense to update those with current illustrations, to shelve alongside the new books. I'm just theorizing here, of course. Margaret Wise Brown was one of the most prolific authors, that's for sure. Her bibliography is HUGE.

  2. omg D! these are flat out amazing!!!!!!!!!!! what incredible finds!

    1. I was pretty excited! We actually checked out The Pussycat's Christmas last year, when I was looking for more examples of Helen Stone's work.

      There are 97 Margaret Wise Brown books listed in our library system catalog, including vintage books, new releases, and re-releases.


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