K.Y. Craft

We've been on a library tear lately. I will get in the mood for a certain kind of book, or a certain author or illustrator, and I'll request a ton of books via Polaris, at home. It occurred to me recently that we have never checked out any books illustrated by Kinuko Y. Craft. When I was a bookseller, I would admire the gorgeous cover of The Twelve Dancing Princesses for days. I put it off until the girls were older, though, because it's rather wordy. At 7 and 9, they're plenty old enough to enjoy it now.

We currently have five books illustrated by K.Y. Craft in our house. We started with Cinderella. Everyone's gearing up for the new Disney live-action movie, so she's been on our minds anyway.

Cinderella by K.Y. Craft. Chronicle Books, 2000.

This gorgeous version of Cinderella is based mostly on the Perrault and Lang versions of the tale, with a hint of Grimm in the form of a little bird. Saved by Cinderella, the bird later transforms into the famous fairy godmother. I liked this retelling because it has the prince meeting Cinderella in the woods, as she rescues the bird. He is as taken with her then as when she's wearing all her finery.

The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Marianna Mayer, illustrated by K.Y. Craft.
HarperCollins, 1989.

This is the book I loved to look at at work, but at the time, I was less familiar with the original fairy tale. I prefer the art to this version of the story. The background of the young rescuer is fleshed out, and he meets and falls for the youngest princess before he follows them down the stairs. Some of the darker aspects are missing from the story, though, and I missed them. And okay, I admit it: as an oldest child, I really do prefer the Grimm ending, which has the young man choosing to marry the clever oldest princess, because she is closest to his age.

Pegasus by Marianna Mayer, illustrated by K.Y. Craft.  HarperCollins, 1998.

I have less of an opinion when it comes to retellings of Greek mythology, as I've read or seen so many versions of the same few stories, I'm not sure what's "correct" or not. This book is beautiful, though.

Cupid and Psyche, retold by M. Charlotte Craft, illustrated by K.Y. Craft.
HarperCollins, 1996.

Cupid and Psyche was written by Craft's daughter, Marie Charlotte Craft. The art in this book is swoon-worthy. It is lush and spectacular.

King Midas and the Golden Touch by M. Charlotte Craft, illustrated by K.Y. Craft.

Another collaboration with her daughter. I think the paintings in this book are my favorite.

There are other books I want to see now: Sleeping Beauty, Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave. The top of her "Fairytale Books" page on her website advertises an upcoming edition of Beauty and the Beast, "ten years in the making." I can only imagine how gorgeous that one will be!

If you head to the website, be sure to check out the opera lithographs for sale. Beautiful! Then spend some time swooning over the fantasy art under "Recent Work/Image Gallery."

One last note. Upon searching K.Y. Craft's website further, I noticed some familiar book and magazine covers on her "Biography" page. I had no idea she did the original cover art for Stephen King's Different Seasons for example. That's the cover of my old mass market paperback edition, read so many years ago. Learn something new everyday.

As I stated (and as you can tell in the photos), we checked our books out from the library. I think, however, the timelessness of the tales would make them worthy editions for our shelves at home. More to add to our birthday/holiday wish lists!

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  1. Beautiful books, and I agree that they are worthy of a home library collection.

  2. my goodness, these are just gorgeous. I had no idea there were Greek myth books available! and I haven't seen the Baba Yaga book but I would looooove to. We own the Sleeping Beauty! And it's a beauty! :)

    1. I don't remember if the library has that one or not. May have to give interlibrary loan a try!

  3. They're really gorgeous- true works of art!


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