April Showers Bring May Flowers...

There seems to be some discrepancy as to when the rhyme was first penned
by farmer and poet Thomas Tusser "Sweet April Showers Do Spring May Flowers." Some accounts say 1500's, others 1600's or 1800's. Whenever it was
written, it has surely stuck and been modified along the way to just "April Showers bring May Flowers." 

In searching for vintage children's books about flowers, I was struck by how lovely the antique books were. I thought about young children of long ago looking at these beautifully illustrated books and how they would have informed young minds, fueled their imaginations and provided exposure to fine art.

Flower Fairy by Cicely Mary Barker
image via duermevela

Daffodil Fairy by Cicely Mary Barker

May Day
image via lululetty

Little Flower Folks

The Alphabet of Flowers and Fruit, 1856

The Alphabet of Flowers and Fruit, 1856

The Alphabet of Flowers and Fruit,1856
image via Letterology

Chasing the Green Faerie, 1925
Image via Bohemian Wornest

Beautiful Flowers of the Months, 1918
image via Terri 

Almanack for 1890, Kate Greenaway

Gertie's Sun Flower
image via I am a Child


The Water-Babies, Jessie Willcox Smith

Today's vintage children's book, The Water-Babies, was written by Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) and illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935). Smith was a very successful artist who worked during the Golden Age of Illustration. She studied under Howard Pyle at his Brandywine School of Illustration, illustrated more than 40 books and did hundreds of magazine illustrations. Her work is very recognizable and she is known for her beautiful illustrations that capture the essence of children.

From the summary at the front of the book: The adventures of Tom, a sooty little chimney sweep with a great longing to be clean, who is stolen by fairies and turned into a water-baby.

The Water-Babies
By Charles Kingsley
Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith
Books of Wonder
William Morrow and Company, 1997


Chanticleer and The Fox, Barbara Cooney

Today's vintage children's book is a repost from April of 2012, a wonderfully illustrated book by Barbara Cooney. It would have to be in my top ten of children's picture books.

To view that post, click here.

To read a lovely post done at Anemotion in 2010 on Cooney, click here.

Barbara Cooney was a very skilled draftsman and had a beautiful style.

The link above to Light and Shade has a good post on Barbara Cooney. I have to agree with Vincent Desjardins about Cooney's work in black and white. I think those illustrations and others with limited color schemes really showcase her skill as an artist.

To view other posts I did on Barbara Cooney books:

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