ACHUKA Book of the Day 9 Nov 2021
Spectator Best Children’s Books 2021
Back in print some half a century after it first appeared, thanks to the New York Review Children’s Collection.
Alice and Martin Provensen were one of the most talented husband-and-wife author-illustrator teams of the twentieth century. A long-out-of-print cult classic, The Provensen Book of Fairy Tales is a treasury of illustrated fairy tales from authors such as A. A. Milne, Hans Christian Andersen, and Oscar Wilde. Here too are clever retellings and newly imagined tales: refined old favourites like Arthur Rackham’s “Beauty and the Beast,” feminist revisions like Elinor Mordaunt’s “The Prince and the Goose Girl,” and sensitive stories by literary stylists like Henry Beston’s “The Lost Half-Hour” and Katharine Pyle’s “The Dreamer.”
Alice (1918-2018) and Martin Provensen (1916-1987) illustrated more than forty books together, nineteen of which they also wrote or edited. They were runners-up for the Caldecott Medal in 1982 for their illustrations of Nancy Willard’s A Visit To William Blake’s Inn and won the award outright two years later for The Glorious Flight, a book they wrote and illustrated themselves.