Monday, June 27, 2011


In the late 1910's and early 1920's, Donohue Press put out a series of  children's books that they called the Peter Rabbit series.  These books were notable for their very true-to-original versions of classic tales and were not sanitized for the sake of the tykes.  There was a lot of murder and mayhem that would rival a more gruesome episode of "CSI" or "Law and Order:  SVU."   The art work in the books was not attributed to an artist or artists, but the work was fairly typical of the era and was colorful, cute and anthropomorphic.  It's a perversely amusing contrast to all the death threats and killing going on in the stories. 

One particular book has cover art that does not match the interior artwork and was most probably done by another artist, without attribution.  But I am convinced that the person who illustrated the cover for The Little Small Red Hen was really loaded when they did this cover:

That's a pretty realistic depiction of a chicken, save for the apron and those shoes.  Look at those tiny little shoes, how did she shove her big old hen feet in them?   Was she into foot binding?  Those legs make me think of women in sensible shoes who haven't shaved their legs.  I can't take my eyes off of them.

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