DemosNews: William Nicholson’s Vibrant Art for Kids
William Nicholson’s Vibrant Art for Kids
By: Sara Hartley


A friend tipped me off to two cherished children’s books from her English youth that have been issued anew. Both come alive through William Nicholson’s light, fresh, explosive stokes of color.


  • The Pirate Twins (published 1929, reissued 2005)
    Newly available in an English edition only. Perhaps political correctness frightened American publishers (just as the old American favorite Little Black Sambo had to morph to Little Brave Sambo.) The two foundlings, washed up on the beach and given love and home by an English girl, are pitch black. Their short tale is stuffed with affection and good will, but also with the naughtiest pranks of real kids. A complete delight. And such pictures!
  • The Velveteen Rabbit or How Toys Become Real (author Margery Williams, original illustrator Nicholson 1922; reissued 1958)
    This dear story has reappeared in several pictorial incarnations, usually sentimental and cloying. None approaches the original artist’s inventiveness and flair. The swirling compositional freedom and release of the last scene alone, in which the stuffed creature springs to life, takes one’s breath away. Even the dulcet endpapers charm.

© 2018 Sara Hartley of DemosNews

April 20, 2008 at 7:22am
DemosRating: 4.5
Hits: 1178

Genre: Arts (Leads)
Type: Critical
Tags: Pirate, Twins, Velveteen, Bunny, kids’, books

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