Illustrations for Book Lovers

Though writers paint pictures with words, actual images can enhance books in surprising and poignant ways. As a collector of children’s books and as someone who is very ready for the US election to be over, I thought it would be a good time to enjoy some beautiful things.

With that in mind, here are a few beloved book illustrations. Many of the books are originally in a language other than English, and they can be a bit difficult to track down. I suppose that is all the more reason to make sure that a few more people have the chance to enjoy their splendor.

—     —     —

Beauty and the Beast by Ji Young Kim (or Yeshil Kim), illustrated by Gabriel Pacheco, Yeowan Media, 2013.


Belle and Family Wealth.jpg

Belle on a Horse.jpg

Japanese Fairy Tales, illustrated by Kirill Chelushkin, Drofa, 2002.

Crane by Kirill Cheloushkin.jpg

Japanese Fairy Tales by Kirill Chelushkin.jpg

Alice in Wonderland, illustrated by Song Gum Jin.


Alice in Wonderland Song Gum Jin.jpg

Notre Dame de Paris, by Victor Hugo, illustrated by Benjamin Lacombe, 2011.


Lacombe notre Dame.jpg


Thorn Rose, by the Brothers Grimm, illustrated by Errol le Cain, Bradbury Press, 1977.

thorn_rose18 Errol le Cain.jpg

Thorn Rose Errol le Cain.jpg

—     —     —

I hope you enjoy these images as much as I do. If you have any favorite books that have been lovingly illustrated, feel free to share them. I’m always on the look out to add more to my collection.


32 thoughts on “Illustrations for Book Lovers

  1. Kristen, these are just magical. Lovingly rendered and each one telling so much of a story. As young I received some red leather-bound books from my mother and one favourite was ‘Heidi’ and I adored the drawings in that – and then the ones in The Hobbit were fabulous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Katie! It is always so rewarding to hear that someone enjoys what I do in this little corner of the internet.

      Tangentially related, but I hope that your NaNoWriMo project is going well. I saw one of your posts about it earlier, and I am a bit jealous of your strong start!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well you do a great job. And thank you, I’ve never had such a strong start before, I’m really hoping to hit 100k this time, I’ve tried for years. But I’m coming down with a cold, so I’ve been slowing down the past few days. How is yours going?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. 100,000 words is ambitious, but once you’ve beaten the cold, I’m sure you’ll hit it.

        I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I’m in the heavy editing stage of my current project, and even though I am dabbling in some new stories, I don’t want to take too much time away from my main piece. (I’ve decided that I would like to finish it sometime this century, which I won’t do if I keep letting myself get distracted.) I am eagerly reading how everyone else is doing for the month though.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. That is actually a very smart idea, good job for sticking with your project! I always struggle when I hit the editing stage- which is probably why I have so many stuck there right now, lol. Keep it up and good luck! You’ll have it sparking and ready to go in no time!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful illustrations. When I was a youngster many moons ago, I somehow got hold of an early 1900s illustrated and unabridged edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. There was no book jacket, but the hardback cover was imbedded with a wonderful illustration of Tom eating an apple as he watched his friends taking turns whitewashing his Aunt Polly’s fence. The book contained many full-color illustrations depicting some of the more important scenes in the book. I don’t recall what happened to the book. It might’ve been trashed–along with a LOT of my personal possessions– when my mother moved to a new location after I joined the Marine Corps. I’d give a lot to have that book back. I also owned illustrated versions of Life on the Mississippi, and Huckleberry Finn. If I recall correctly, most of the illustrations in those books were in black and white. Alas, they suffered the same fate.
    Thanks for the (bittersweet) memories! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those books sound absolutely wonderful. Do you think that the Tom Sawyer edition was the one with Norman Rockwell’s illustrations? I’ve seen a few of those, and they look quite grand.

      I am sorry that the books were lost to you. After my recent move, I realized that I had accidentally thrown away a keepsake that had once belonged to my father. The object itself was just a silly thing, but its loss devastated me. I did track down a replica of the item on ebay though, and even though it isn’t the one my father had, I like having it around. Maybe for that next holiday, you can give yourself a similar gift and track down a copy of one of those books.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think it was Rockwell’s illustrations. I looked around at Amazon and found a couple of old versions that “might” be it. I took a chance and ordered one. It’s a 1931 edition. I think the one I had was earlier, but I could be wrong. The cover does have Tom eating an apple while a friend is whitewashing the fence. I’ll let you know!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Have you read any of Shaun Tan’s books? He’s an Australian artist/illustrator/artist and his books are otherworldly beautiful. My particular favourites are The Arrival, The Lost Thing, and Tales from Outer Suburbia. I’ve got a feeling you’ll love them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t heard of Tan before, but I just googled his work, and it is absolutely delightful. “The Arrival” looks interesting, and “The Rabbits” looks beautiful. They are all such thoughtful stories as well. I’m definitely going to have to pick up a few of these. Thanks for turning me on to Tan’s works!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing these images! I think I can pick up on a little bit of a style trend. : )

    My favorite illustrator is Elly Mackay. She creates paper dioramas with gorgeous back-lighting. I’m sure you would appreciate them!

    I’m also very fond of the illustrations in the Polar Express, and we had a breathtaking copy of the Nutcracker when I was growing up. I’ll try to find the illustrator’s name and drop by again. ‘Tis the season!

    Liked by 1 person

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