Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ivy Cottage

There are many books out there that I wish, wish, wish would be reprinted.  The series that I'm going to share with you today is one of those.  E. J. Taylor wrote and illustrated the Ivy Cottage series.  Each tale centers around Miss Biscuit, a retired nanny, and the two live rag-dolls under her care: Violet Pickles and Ruby Buttons.   
Ivy Cottage (c. 1984) tells of the family's big move from city to country.   

Goose Eggs (c. 1984) relates how the threesome settle into country life.   

The Thorn Witch (c. 1985) narrates a humorously spooky tale.

Rag Doll Press (c. 1985) recounts a story of teamwork.

Christmas at Ivy Cottage (c. 1991) presents a tale evoking Christmas spirit.

Every so often, I have to hide this series from my little brood in order to "move on with the next thing."  But then, sooner or later they gravitate back to Ivy Cottage.  Therein lies the charm.  I'm not quite sure if it's the story, the illustrations, or the combination of both that enthralls them.  Either way, the online consensus resounds deep affection accompanied by the repeating statement "bring back into print!"  I, personally, don't find Taylor's writing noteworthy.  He's much better gifted in illustrating.  However, that said, I am impressed with the Good Samaritan lessons these books teach.  That these stories emerged from the heart of an adventuresome boy, fishing his way through the Alaskan waters, may be the most surprising fact of all!

Take note: these books are very difficult to find.  Unfortunately, our local library doesn't have them in their circulation.  However, I have frequented a copy at a used bookstore.  You can find copies online in used book sites.  I'm guessing that my copies came from the Weekly Reader Paperback Club that's stamped on the back cover.  So perhaps you have a copy in Dad's attic somewhere?  For now, satisfy your appetite with E. J. Taylor's illustrations by looking at www.ejtaylor.com and clicking on the "illustrations" tab before scrolling across the various "book" photos at the bottom of the page.  Don't leave the site without checking out Taylor's adventurous bio.

7 comments:

  1. They sound like the perfect children's book - good story/lesson & sweet illustrations.

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  4. I have all the books. They are wonderful. My daughters are all grown now but each wanted their own copy of all the books and was able to buy all from Amazon some years ago. they are very difficult to find now. I also have the Violet and Ruby rag doll. I'm trying to find Miss Biscuit dog...but probably impossible

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  5. I have most of the books, which I bought recently through the web by looking up used copies. They are totally charming and should be back in print.

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  6. gave these books and dolls to my daughters back in the early 80's and now they have been passed down to my youngest daughters twin baby girls, Abigail Rose and Madilyn Grace....how perfect

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  7. gave these books and dolls to my daughters back in the early 80's and now they have been passed down to my youngest daughters twin baby girls, Abigail Rose and Madilyn Grace....how perfect

    ReplyDelete