Books by Garth Williams

Released: March 31, 2001

In 1951, beloved illustrator Williams (Stuart Little, Bedtime for Frances, the Little House books) published a novel called The Adventures of Benjamin Pink. Rosemary Wells has colored reproductions of the original black-and-white illustrations, using paints available in the '50s in a palette from Williams's own work. This episode has text that has been abridged for a picture-book format and the result is old-fashioned, but charming. On a clear morning, bunny Benjamin Pink decides it is a perfect day for fishing, and off he goes, waving to his wife Emily. But the day clouds over, a storm comes up, and Benjamin finds himself shipwrecked on a desert island. Lo! He finds a pirates' buried treasure chest. He meets a turtle named Theodore, and, over mint tea and berries, they try to work out a way of getting Benjamin, and the treasure, home. Benjamin builds a raft, the turtle enlists his friend the porpoise, but another storm comes up, and our bunny hero finds himself without a ride and on the wrong island, with the treasure in the hands of monkeys. He starts over, is towed home by a shark, and finds his Emily waiting. There's still a pearl in his ear left over from his adventures, but he tells Emily that she's his true treasure. While the story is a bit forced, the images are vintage Williams, warm and fuzzy and just right. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
J.B.'S HARMONICA by John Sebastian
Released: April 1, 1993

James Bear has always wanted a harmonica, but when he gets one, and practice yields results, people compliment him with comparisons to Dad—an accomplished concert player. That's not okay; J.B. isn't ready to decide what he wants to be, so he thinks of alternatives to music (``an archaeologist and search for dinosaur bones''[!]); he even gives up the harmonica for a while. In the end, with sympathy and understanding from both parents, he realizes that, even with the same instrument, the song can be his own—and he can play Dad's song ``his very own way.'' Sebastian's first book is little more than an explication of its message, but his narrative and dialogue have a pleasing cadence and he creates a warm family scene. Williams's b&w drawings are a little dark, but his furry bears are as appealing as ever. Perhaps best for readers not quite ready for chapter books. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: May 24, 1991

In Emmett's Pig (1959), Emmett received his heart's desire; ``King Emmett,'' a pig described as his but kept on a farm at some distance from his N.Y.C. home. Now, in one day, Emmett receives two overwhelming pieces of news: he hears that his family is moving to a small Ohio town (which precipitates what may be his first temper tantrum); then, with remarkably bad timing, his mother tells him that King Emmett is no more—he has met a pig's usual fate. Not surprisingly, Emmett arrives at the Ohio house full of belligerence, but Ohio simply doesn't fight back: the house really is nicer; despite Emmett's suspicions, the older boy next door is friendly and teaches Emmett to ride his new bike; and a more suitable pet is soon provided—a dog with a memorial name (see title), to be called simply ``King.'' Once past the jolting (though not altogether improbable) beginning, this becomes a pleasant story of necessary adjustments made with good intentions and with some realistic parent-child negotiations. Williams's contribution is minimal here, but Emmett is recognizable, just a year older. (Fiction/Young reader. 7-10) Read full book review >
THE FIRST FOUR YEARS by Garth Williams
Released: Feb. 1, 1971

Laura wasn't sure about marrying Manly, she'd 'always said she'd never marry a farmer' . . . For a moment it's all wrong, this manuscript left unrevised by Mrs. Wilder, and then Manly (never 'Almanzo') takes hold, joking and reasoning and promising that they'll quit at the end of three years if he hasn't "made such a success that you are willing to keep on." Compared to its predecessors this is telegraphic, with little dialogue or development of incident; one might also say less fictionalized. and consequently closer to the bone, to the hopes for a good harvest dashed year after year. A twenty-minute hailstorm ruins the first year's work; another crop is struck by three days' hot wind and "the grains were cooked in the milk, all dried and shrunken, absolutely shriveled." But if that one good year evades them, there is recompense in a snug house and mutual sympathy; in adding New Year's at the Wilders' to Thanksgiving at the Boasts' and Christmas at the Ingalls'; in racing the ponies, sledding with Shep, the least new acquisition (once a windfall of Waverly novels); and, with little Rose sleeping or toddling close by, in plowing and haying together and seeing the stock thrive: "It would be a fight to win out in this business of farming, but strangely she felt her spirit rising for the struggle." The spirit as well as the format is that of the Little House (though the format will mislead those who expect a functional resemblance). Read full book review >
Released: May 11, 1960

Frances is a lively, imaginative and appealing small badger. And bedtime for her is just as unappealing as it would be for any little girl. Tucked into her snug bed, with her toy companions, the wideawake Frances conjures up successive dangers, all of which are scotched by her matter-of-fact parents. Finally, of course, Frances succumbs to the sandman. Here is the coziest, most beguiling bedtime story in many a day. Garth Williams, popular illustrator, has a flair for conveying human qualities while still sustaining the animal nature of his characters, and Russell Hoban's text is gently comical-while wholly recognizable in mood and situation. Steiff toys in Europe include badgers along with Teddy and kaola bears, and perhaps this will create a demand for them here. In any case, here's a book that will be surely popular. Read full book review >
THE RESCUERS by Margery Sharp
Released: Oct. 29, 1959

An absurd and beguiling fantasy in which a trio of mice perform a heroic rescue of a Norwegian poet from the dungeon of an impregnable prison. Here are all the elements of gang plotting, of ingenious execution, of hairbreadth escape, scaled down to the size of the rescuers, and geared to the elements that would provide difficulties, from transportation over the seas to communication in a strange language and to circumventing the horrendous cat of the head jailor. The story is ingenious, almost credible as one reads. There is sly humor and digs at human counterparts. Here is a tale made to order for Walt Disney—but a strange departure for Margery Sharp. Read full book review >
THE RESCUERS by Margery Sharp
Released: Oct. 29, 1959

<p>An ingenious fantasy, an almost credible satire, this story—a departure from the author's usual material—deals with a trio of mice and their rescue of an imprisoned Norwegian poet. Here, on mouse scale, are all the elements of gang plotting, adroit execution, and hairbreadth escape. Here also is a sly humor which digs sharply into the human scheme. Good entertainment, funny, absurd, and thoroughly beguiling.</p> Read full book review >
OVER AND OVER by Charlotte Zolotow
Released: Sept. 18, 1957

... children will wish to pore over the pleasant pictures in the simple story of the holiday round which highlight childhood's year. Our heroine is a wesred-headed moppet, who at three is too small to understand the sequence of the seasons. She thinks she remembers snow, but not what comes next. So each succeeding doublespread brings reminders, as Garth Williams illustrates the enchantment of Christmas, the bliss of Valentine's Day, Spring's first crocus as harbinger of Easter joy, summer holidays in a vacation idyll at the seashore, the mischief of Rallowe'en, Thanksgiving's blessings- and last but not least, that most personal of holidays, a birthday. The pictures glow with color and a certain traditional quality is a relief after the stark modernity so often met. A happy book for three and four year olds to call their own, with expanded captions that beginning readers will find satisfaction in reading to themselves. Read full book review >
THREE LITTLE ANIMALS by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: Oct. 3, 1956

To each his own- so these three small bears discover in the story and pictures by Margaret Wise Brown and Garth Williams. Each at separate times, all dressed up so that they don't know each other- mother, father and child decide to go to the city and see what it's like. It is the young bear's costume- a flower pot hat, leaf coat and log shoes- that will remind you of the misfit who tries to do what he shouldn't and suffers for it. But in this case all three find each other and know they are happier at home. Very endearing for children and grown ups. Weak stitching. Read full book review >
HOME FOR A BUNNY by Garth Williams
Released: June 15, 1956

None but the bunny's home is his own and he doesn't find it until he meets another bunny. The first bunny is brown, the second white and the springtime wanderings of the brown, as he asks frog, bird and groundhog for lodgings which only prove inadequate for him, have a charming logic. Garth Williams' colored spreads for the book have subtle, exact details which keep revealing themselves each time the pictures are looked at. Read full book review >
THE FRIENDLY BOOK by Garth Williams
Released: June 15, 1954

With Garth Williams' pictures, perfectly keyed to her verse, here are poems about the things Miss Brown liked:- cars, trains, fish, snow, people. The way she tells about them makes you love them too. Good reading aloud. Read full book review >
THE SAILOR DOG by Garth Williams
Released: June 15, 1953

Funny, sagacious pictures by Garth Williams go with the one-dog, he-dog adventures of Scuppers. On the bounding main, Scuppers is wrecked - but he repairs his ship, hits an Arabian port (where the dogs are veiled), gets new gear and heads for the sea again - happily. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 15, 1952

"The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too."
A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl. Read full book review >
Released: June 15, 1952

A well-meant fantasy about a dog who owned himself. Too sophisticated in outlook to appeal to the picture story age group. Garth Williams' illustrations are not inspired but there's more fun in them than in the text. Read full book review >
LITTLE FUR FAMILY by Garth Williams
Released: Sept. 5, 1951

The new edition of this gentle little story is, we think, much more successful in its present simple form than in the furry novelty format in which it first appeared in 1946. With the size expanded and the fur jacket removed this sleepy-time story, with its lovely, quiet text about a little fur child and his happy day, has the exquisitely colored and detailed pictures by Garth Williams — deep, green woods, sunny streams and house. A soft lulling repetitious style is a perfect bridge between waking and sleep. Read full book review >
Released: June 15, 1948

It's a big Margaret Wise Brown this season, from Harpers — and there are lovely Garth Williams' pictures for a text unexceptional for this author. The story tells of a little raccoon who wanted to go out at night and "see the moon- and see the night- and know an owl- and how dark is dark?- and listen to the Whippoorwill — and stay up all night and sleep all day" etc. (A familiar sound, eh?). And he does it. Simple and nice. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 17, 1945

"The story would have a real chance on its own merits without these really appallingly bad episodes."
Of course this will sell—as an E. B. White item and one that the publishers are pushing hard, playing it for an adult as well as a juvenile sale. Read full book review >
Released: March 17, 1943

Illustrated by Helen Sewell and Mildred Boyle, and a splendid addition to the other fine books in the series. In this, Laura, not quite sixteen, goes off to teach school at the Brewster Settlement; her trials are hard with the sour Mrs. Brewster, the extreme cold, the problems of the pupils. Her happiness comes with Almanzo Wilder, whom she marries at the end of the book. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 20, 1941

These books are written in the third person, as if they were fiction, but actually each successive volume provides another panel in the autobiography of the author This one is for distinctly older girls than its predecessor, as Laura secures her first post as school teacher, and puts her own school days behind her. (And young Wilder appears on her horizon, surprisingly-to her-acting as her escort whenever occasion warrants Not quite so surely successful as her earlier books, but once more a revealing and intimate picture of life in the Dakota territory, summers on the homestead, winters in the prairie town, socials, suppers, spelling bees, revivals, church, school, literary societies —and adolescent ambitions and interests. For some reason, the almost-a-young lady Laura isn't quite as real as the child of the wilderness. Read full book review >
THE LONG WINTER by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Released: June 15, 1940

Yet another panel in the saga of the Ingalls' family, and a good one. Laura is thirteen when the winter of 1880-81 brings danger to Dakota territory. Just in time the crops are harvested and the little family moves into the tiny village. But even so, no one was prepared to meet seven months of almost incessant blizzards, with no trains bringing food into the snowbound community. This is a story of courageous imagination in the face of near despair — and of how the spirit that helped build our country carried the Ingalls and their neighbors through to safety. In this book, the brothers of Farmer Boy come into the picture, and the Wilder and Ingalls families are brought together. Sell as true story material. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 20, 1939

One always hesitates as to whether these stories of Laura Wilder's childhood belong with fiction or non-fiction, so place this where you have found the others sell best. This follows On The Banks of Plum Creek, and the Ingalls' family go on to Dakota Territory, where they eventually homestead. They pass an initial year in the settlement, — the summer in a shack near a trading post, the winter in a deserted cabin. Laura is thirteen, with a healthy adolescent curiosity about the new country; Mary, her sister, has gone blind, but her courage and resourcefulness are a constant inspiration. The coming of the railroad, the influx of settlers, bring new elements into the section. A splendidly written contribution to factual frontier material, of special interest to the Middle Western market. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 20, 1937

If anything, it is better than her enchanting Little House in the Big Woods. Factual — the material is drawn from her own pioneer childhood — but told as story. The Ingalls' family moves on to a prairie homestead, and first from a sod house, then from a newly built cabin, they lay the groundwork for farming life, with all its mishaps. Laura is always in trouble, but a staunch young person when brought to the test. It is perfect Americana. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 19, 1935

Sequel to Little House in the Big Woods, and true story of the author's own childhood, and of the days when her father, feeling that civilization was coming too fast to the Big Woods, uprooted his little family and took them, via covered wagon, to Kansas. Good Americana — and a first rate tale. Personally, I liked it certainly as well, perhaps better than the other. Read full book review >
FARMER BOY by Garth Williams
Released: Oct. 1, 1933

A juvenile AS THE EARTH TURNS. The story of a vanishing phase of American life, with delightful illustrations by Helen Sewell. Read full book review >