Letters of Thanks, Helen Oxenbury

Today's vintage children's book, Letters of Thanks, is a bit unusual as it was written by an eleven year old girl (at the time), Manganita Kempadoo from India. A parody of The Twelve Days of Christmas, the text is comprised of letters Lady Huntington sends to her beau, Lord Gilbert, after receiving each of the twelve "gifts". The accompanying illustrations by Helen Oxenbury show Lady Huntinton's increasing aggravation and in the end she gives Lord Gilbert the heave-ho.

Letters of Thanks
Written by Manganita Kempadoo
Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Simon and Schuster, 1969

Helen Oxenbury (1938 - ) has had a long and successful career. She started out designing theatrical sets and turned to children's books after having children of her own. Her decision to do kids books was influenced in part by her husband, John Burningham - also a famous children's book author and illustrator. Helen was one of the first writers to develop board books for toddlers, a wonderful invention. She is the author/illustrator for the Tom and Pippo books. She won a Kate Greenaway medal for The Quangle Wangle's Hat (1969), written by Edward Lear. Helen also illustrated Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Her nontraditional take on the illustrations won her another Kate Greenaway Medal in 1999.

Some other books illustrated by Helen Oxenbury:

The Dragon of an Ordinary Family by Margaret Mahy, 1969
Cakes and Custard by Brian Alderson, 1975
We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, 1989
Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell, 1991
The Three Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas, 1993
So Much by Trish Cooke, 1994
I Can by Helen Oxenbury, 1995
Big Momma Makes the World by Phyllis Root, 2003
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox, 2008


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