Friday, March 19, 2010

A Day in Fairy Land

The good news of the day is that my copy of A Day in Fairy Land arrived!

The less than good news is that it's not entirely what I expected. Essentially, it's a later printing of the book. The trim size is smaller and the print quality isn't as good as the original. The fairy dresses aren't as luminous as they are in the first printing.

Most tragic of all, some of the illustrations have been redrawn or traced. I don't know exactly what happened, but it's obvious that some illustrations--while almost exactly like the original--are clearly not by the original illustrator Ann-Mari Sjogren. I realized how crucial the art was when I looked through the illustrations and ignored the words completely (how unlike me!) Sjogren is the heart and soul of this book.

Here's a closeup of one of the original illustrations:
The need for altered illustrations might have something to do with the shrunken trim size and the layout changes that resulted from this. As my MIL pointed out, this was reprinted before photoshop. They might have had trouble squeezing everything in and therefore had some fairies redrawn. This page is the worst offender of this:
If you compare the first image with the second, you can see the difference in the fairies' faces and dresses. There's a delicacy to the originals.

Also anyone who has read the book knows that the insects in the above picture are much softer and cuter in the original, and that the rainbow dress is the prettiest dress in the ENTIRE BOOK. The copy does not do it justice. This link takes you to another Web page dedicated to Sjogren. At the top right of the page there's an image that shows several of her illustrations and you can see the rainbow dress in all its glory if you wish.

After sleeping on it, I've decided that a part of me can rest easy knowing I have this book close by. I can now look at it whenever I want. However, another part of me will continue to search for better copies!

This could be a lifelong adventure of Lara Croft proportions (hey, you never know. Maybe a bunch of bad guys need an original copy of the book in order to take over the world. This book is seriously that powerful). And you know, I think I like the sound of that!! Let the hunt continue!


  1. I do see the difference you mention in the two pictures. In regards to faces, it seems to me that the traced or redrawn one, IMHO, has given those fairies bitch-face. Just by a touch of heaviness in the ink. The original has more of a delicate touch, as you say. And that dragonfly is a bit off--I didn't know what it was at first.

    But I'm glad it wasn't lost forever in the depths of mailroom hell, and the original illustrations are lovely. I will keep my eyes open if I ve stumble across a copy of this.

  2. Hello, Just in case you are interested I have a copy of A Day in Fairland which was given to me in 1954. I think it was published in the 1940's and as far as I know it is original. It is going for Auction shortly. If you are interested post a comment and I will tell you the Auction site.

  3. Hi i also have an original copy of the book dating back to around 1940, that was my fathers as a child. I am looking to sell, if you are interested post a comment.

  4. I also have a copy - an original- but we will keep it in the family unless we got an offer we could not refuse. I was given mine in 1950 before we emigrated to South Africa. It has travelled the world with me.

  5. Wow, thank you to the person commenting to see if I'm interested in purchasing a copy. At the moment I don't think I have the money available for what I assume would be an expensive purchase. However, please feel free to post the auction site here or email it to me ( because I am endlessly curious and would love to check it out!

  6. I found an original copy in an antiques store in a suburban town in New Jersey in 2006. It's huge and had scribbles on the inside from the previous owner, but was in perfect condition otherwise. I love this book! Does anyone know more about it?