“Rumbold Raven’s Magic Menagerie” is a series of eighteen short children’s poems featuring an eccentric, colourful assortment of animal characters: Dorelia the extinct Dodo, Feeble Fred the dozy frog, delightfully dreamy Salome Seahorse, and wellyboot-wearing Tiger Tigbaloo to name but a few – all eighteen drawn together by scary but charismatic Rumbold Raven himself.
The book has an interesting story, since it was written by me and illustrated by my artist friend Albert Ennemoser thirty five years ago. At that time, publishers loved the book but rejected it because of the prohibitive cost of producing Albert’s wonderfully detailed and lavishly coloured illustrations.
Albert returned to his native Austria and the book, which he had given to me, gathered dust in my study for decades. It was well and truly lost – under the spare bed in my husband’s study, to be precise.
By the New Year of 2013 Lola, our delightful granddaughter, was nearly two and already a book lover like me. After a visit with her mum Susie and dad Ben in January 2013, whilst hunting under the spare bed for something else, I came across the dusty manuscript of “Rumbold Raven….” and looked through the poems again.
They leapt off the pages, lively and quirky as ever. “Mmmm”, I said to my husband Ian, Lola’s granddad. “Lola would love this book, wouldn’t she?” So, with the able help of local web designers co-occurrence, it has at last been born. Enjoy!
“There are very few children’s books that manage to combine great writing with great illustrations. “Rumbold Raven’s Magic Menagerie” has managed to do both. This book is a treasure of beautiful illustrations and engaging words. Each story and picture is unique and will have children’s imaginations captured. The fact that they are both beautiful to look at and interesting to read makes them unusual. I am hoping to frame a couple for my child’s room. Well done Anne for persevering and bringing these treasures to us now after all these years.”
Emily Cutts, independent psychology researcher and community activist with Glasgow, UK’s “The Children’s Wood” campaign.
You can download a free two page sample from Rumbold Raven’s Magic Menagerie as a PDF (480KB) and if you like it, why not buy the entire book of eighteen characters for $8.00? Just press the Paypal button below and I will send you the PDF by email.
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400 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2013
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page
2 thoughts on “Rumbold Raven’s Magic Menagerie : lost – and found!”
Oh, Anne! What a wonderful thing you’ve done! I just looked at the free download, and am completely entranced, both by the whimsical poetry and by the illustrations. They remind me of the books I read as a child – so much more interesting than the cartoonish illustrations I run across today. (Granted, I don’t spend much time with children’s literature, but still…)
I have a friend who has been piddling around with an illustrated book of children’s stories for some time, doing the art and the writing. I’m going to send her a copy, in hopes that it will get her creative juices flowing again. I presume I’ll need to send her email addy to you since it differs from mine. I do have a paypal account, so that’s no problem, but I’m not certain Paypal has a “message to seller” box where I could send it that way. The best news is she lives outside London, and I’ll be able to get her a gift before Christmas!
Another bit of serendipity. When I clicked on the link for “illustration”, the Wiki article shows an illustration by Jessie Willcox Smith of a little girl reading. I have a porcelain collector’s plate with that image. It was my mother’s. She bought it because it reminded her of me with my books as a child.
Linda, thank you so much for this affirmation! Coming from a brilliant writer– and art appreciator – like yourself, it means a great deal.
I do hope the book inspires your friend. And I loved the serendipity. We are all more interconnected at more levels than we can possibly ever know….