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Picture Books For Gifting

Hidden among our weightier academic books, we often find some jewels that we don’t expect and that would be suitable for pleasure reading. Our search for books worthy of holiday gift giving this season turned up a number of illustrated storybooks suitable for children or adults. Two include the work of Walter Anderson, (1903-1965) a reclusive Southern painter, writer, and naturalist, who worked with linoleum block prints. By coincidence, another selection compiles tales from Taiso Yoshitoshi  (1839-1892), a Japanese woodblock artist.

Following are some DiverseBooks discoveries for the gifting season. Other possibilities include numerous titles on music, art, cooking, folklore and history. They are all available at substantial savings over retail prices on www

The Magic Carpet and Other Tales, by Ellen Douglas, $45, (List Price: $50), University of Mississippi Press, November 1987, ISBN: 9780878053278, pp. 186 pages.

An award-winning storyteller re-envisions classic fairy tales, stories and myths in this collection first published in 1987. It includes 24 full-color illustrations adapted from linoleum block prints by Walter Anderson, hand colored by his niece Adele Anderson Lawton. The writer, Ellen Douglas, drew from many sources of world literature to provide refreshing and charming versions of such time-honored tales as The Magic Carpet, Rapunzel and The Three Billy Goats Gruff.


Robinson: The Pleasant History of an Unusual Cat, by Walter Anderson, $16.20, (List price:  $18), University of Mississippi Press, October 1996, ISBN: 9780878059485, pp. 72.

This delightful story about a stray cat that drinks magical milk from a saucer and turns into a musical prodigy who plays Carnegie Hall was written by Walter Anderson and is enhanced by 32 of his illustrations.

Yoshitoshi’s Strange Tales, by John Stevenson, $85.50 (List price: $95) KIT Publishers, ISBN:  9789074822718, pp. 168.

Taiso Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) was a popular woodblock artist in Japan whose work explored the supernatural — ghosts, monsters and animal transmutations. Strange Tales presents two series that focus on his depictions of the weird and magical world of the transformed. The first, One Hundred Tales of Japan and China, 1865, was based on a game in which people told ghost tales in a darkened room, extinguishing a candle as each one ended. The second, New Forms of 36 Strange Things, 1889-92, retells Japanese legends.

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