09 Dec 2016 - Courtney Floyd

MacDonald's At the Back of the North Wind (1924?)

There's not a whole lot to say about today's book: A 1920s edition of George MacDonald's Victorian children's book, At the Back of the North Wind, published by David McKay of Philadelphia. Hathitrust dates this edition, which includes four color plates by Gertrude A Kay, to 1924. Based on the cover and illustration style (color-halftone of the sorts we've seen in the last few posts) anything from the 1910s to 1920s makes sense to me.

My  edition is bound in red cloth, with a color-halftone onlay on the front cover:

img_4968 Rather tattered, but I love the shape of the top hat.[

The spine is simple black text directly on the cover.


There's a bookplate on the inside front cover, partially obscuring what looks like a color lithograph endpaper design.


The paper is wove, and the typeface looks fairly modern. Aside from the four color-halftone illustrations, the book is pretty plain.

The initial letter of each chapter is epigraphic, but otherwise the actual text is very simple:


I'm noticing that illustrations in children's books use a LOT of orange (based on the handful I've discussed on this blog, anyway). To me, it seems a bit garish, but maybe kids just really liked orange things in the early twentieth-century:


It's been a number of years, but I remember this being a fun read--particularly if you enjoy nineteenth-century children's literature as I do. You can listen to it for free at Librivox, or read it for free at Project Gutenberg--so if you're looking for something interesting to do with the kiddos (or on your own), this might be of interest.

Until next time!