2.03.2013

Vintage Children's Book: The Butterfly Ball And The Grasshopper's Feast, Part One

Today's vintage children's book, The Butterfly Ball And The Grasshopper's Feast, by Alan Aldridge and William Plommer, has some interesting history behind it. First of all, the book is based on a poem written by William Roscoe in 1807. The poem is about a highly anticipated party attended by insects and small animals.

But first, let's take a look at the original book. (Images are from The Project Gutenberg)








A short bio on Roscoe: William Roscoe (1753-1831) was born in Liverpool. A smart fellow, he left school at the tender age of 12, having learned all the schoolmaster could teach him. He then helped his father, a market gardener, studying and reading in his free time. This was a happy period in his life and gardening and agriculture were lifelong interests. 

Roscoe studied law, became a lawyer, married and had 10 children. He was also a writer, well liked and an expert in the language and literature of Italy. To read more about Roscoe go to this link.

Here is a later version of The Butterflys' Ball, published around 1886. (All images are from the Ball State University Digital Media Repository.)









Aldridge and Plomer's spin on Roscoe's poem resulted in elaborate and highly detailed illustrations and a much expanded and lengthy poem. Here are some of the characters in the book.



"Harold The Herald"



"Mrs. Dormouse"


"Old Blind Mole"


"Esmeralda, Seraphina and Camilla"


"Harlequin Hare"


"Major Nathaniel Gnat"


"Happy-Go-Lucky Grasshopper"

To be continued...

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