Janet Adam Smith (1905–1999) was a Scottish writer and critic. Educated at Oxford, she worked as an editor at a number of literary publications, including The Listener, The Criterion and New Statesman. She also edited the Faber Book of Modern Verse and its companion volume, the Faber Book of Children’s Verse. An accomplished mountaineer, Smith wrote about her adventures in Mountain Holidays; her other books include Life Among the Scots and John Buchnan and His World.


The Real RLS

Dreams of Exile: Robert Louis Stevenson, A Biography

by Ian Bell
When Robert Louis Stevenson died in Samoa in 1894, Henry James told Fanny Stevenson “how much poorer and shabbier the whole world seems, and how one of the closest and strongest reasons for going on, for trying and doing, for planning and dreaming of the future, has dropped in an …

Yrs. Aff. Beatrix Potter

Letters to Children from Beatrix Potter

Collected and introduced by Judy Taylor

Letters to Children

by Beatrix Potter, foreword by Philip Hofer
When in 1966 Philip Hofer published facsimiles of nine of Beatrix Potter’s letters to children, he could say that “To be sure, more letters of this same sort, with pictures, exist, but they are jealously guarded by their owners.” Now Judy Taylor has by zeal, persistence, and cajolery rounded up …

Hard Times

The Diaries of Hans Christian Andersen

selected and translated by Patricia L. Conroy and Sven H. Rossel

The Kiss of the Snow Queen: Hans Christian Andersen and Man's Redemption by Woman

by Wolfgang Lederer
“Hans Christian Andersen slept in this room for five weeks—which seemed to the family AGES.” So Dickens inscribed a card which he stuck on a mirror in the guest room at Gad’s Hill. The readers of Andersen’s diaries will easily understand why. As an unhappy schoolboy Andersen poured out his …


Arthur Rackham: A Biography

by James Hamilton
Some years ago a London Sunday paper had a feature on J.R.R. Tolkien. The photograph, by Lord Snowdon, showed the author of The Lord of the Rings sprawling against a tangle-rooted, gnarled-trunked, wild-branched tree: man and tree seemed to be growing into each other. It was the perfect image for …


A.A. Milne: The Man Behind Winnie-the-Pooh

by Ann Thwaite
“It is ghastly to think of anyone who wrote such gay stuff ending his life like this,” wrote P. G. Wodehouse in 1954 on hearing that his old acquaintance A. A. Milne had been paralyzed by a stroke. Two years later Milne’s life did indeed end sadly: his only son …

Life After Squirrel Nutkin

Beatrix Potter's Letters

selected by Judy Taylor

The Journal of Beatrix Potter, 1881–1897

transcribed from her code writings by Leslie Linder, foreword by Judy Taylor
Very winsome are Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck, Squirrel Nutkin, and other Beatrix Potter creations as they appear on the mugs and porridge plates on sale in National Trust shops. Delightfully quaint were the mice from the Tailor of Gloucester in eighteenth-century costume that last Christmas made the window display at …

Unchildish Activities

Don't Tell the Grown-ups: Subversive Children's Literature

by Alison Lurie
“Somebody’s been putting ideas into your head”—there, down the ages, is the voice of authority, in the form of parent, nanny, teacher, when faced with questions that threaten received ideas and their privilege of “Allow me to know best.” That they have been busily putting ideas into children’s heads—ideas of …

Not So Grimm

Dear Mili: An Old Tale

by Wilhelm Grimm, translated by Ralph Manheim, pictures by Maurice Sendak
Maurice Sendak is a great illustrator, rightly honored by the current exhibition at the Pierpont Morgan Library. It is showing the watercolors and preliminary drawings for his latest book, the recently discovered tale by Wilhelm Grimm now published as Dear Mili. But there may be some mixed feelings even among …