Thursday 7 September 2023

The Elderly Art of Diving

Miss Lavinia Pickerell, Ellen MacGregor's unlikely heroine, first appeared in the short story Swept Her Into Space, published in 1950. The following year, MacGregor expanded it into Miss Pickerell Goes to Mars and launched(!) a new series. Her aim was to write fantasy stories that contained accurate scientific information and would appeal to children. She completed fours books about Miss Pickerell, the last of which was published posthumously in 1954. MacGregor left behind lots notes and ideas for further books and the series was continued by Dora Pantell.

Miss Pickerell Goes Undersea was the third book in the series. All four of the original series were illustrated by Paul Galdone (1907-1986).

Here's the original cover:

This paperback edition was first published in 1961 but this copy dates from 1973.

This rather battered copy dates from 19767.

Here are some of Galdone's interior illustrations:

Paul Galdone was born in Budapest but moved to the USA in 1921 where he studied at the Art Student's League and New York School for Industrial Design. He served in the United States Army during World War 2. He was an author as well as an artist and wrote many of the almost 300 books that he illustrated. Fables and fairy tales were popular subjects and he illustrated the adventures of Eve Titus' mouse heroes, Anatole and Basil of Baker Street. 10 years after his death he was awarded the 1996 Kerlan Award for his contributions to children's literature.

This French edition dates from 1974...

and finally, this one dates from 1981:

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