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


  1. There's so much movement in the captivating illustrations. Jessie sets a very high bar for us to aim for. Thanks for posting.
    Jamie Shaw

  2. I love Jessie Willcox-Smith illustrations, thank you for sharing so many. Barbara.

  3. Very well written I appreciate & must say good job.... please continue your blog
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  4. I'm really glad I found this site as i'm working on a paper for a history of children's lit class. are there any books that could be recommended to me about the art in children's books?

  5. Let us teach our children to love reading books at an early age.
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  6. Really i found your blog after long time ago really very amazing blog well done.
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  7. I do so love vintage children's books. My daughter collects them as well. I am so happy to find your blog and look forward to reading it often.