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!