Born in 1936, Robert Ingpen turns 80 this year, an age commonly associated with slowing down yet the amount of wonderful illustrations he was able to produce in the last decade is nothing short of astonishing. In early 2000’s Palazzo Editions, an English publisher based in Bath (UK), engaged him to illustrate series of unabridged children’s classics books. 13 of those titles are now in print, brilliantly and prolifically (with over 70 illustrations per title) illustrated by Ingpen. You can still find most of these in book shops around Australia or online at booktopia.com.au:
Currently Robert Ingpen works on illustrating the 14th title in the series, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (to be released in October 2016).
All books in the series include unabridged original texts. This is important as book market today abounds in abridged versions (where whole chapters or parts can be excluded) and re-telling (paraphrased and sometimes severely shortened versions of the original texts). I don’t believe in ‘making it more accessible for modern children’ argument often used to justify such modifications of classics. Instead I believe that children should be and are quite capable of enjoying and appreciating the authentic original authors’ texts when exposed to it at the right age.
Talking about production of the above Palazzo Editions volumes it is faultless: where applicable they include quality translations, books are printed on high quality paper and have attractive dust-jackets. The format (thick but less than A4 in size) is comfortable enough for the child’s hands and is great for the read-aloud sessions together. All-time favourite authors, richly illustrated texts and high quality production make this a great set of classics for any home library where it may serve several generation of readers.
To read more about Robert Ingpen and see more of his fabulous books click here.
For individual reviews of books in the above series click on the following links: “Nutcracker”; “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Alice Through the Looking-Glass”.