Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Raymond Sheppard and the Crusader series - Part Two

The Crusader Series is a great read - as long as you remember the stories were school texts and written 55 years ago! I've had a great time reading them, and then seeing the Sheppard illustrations.

Avocet Island is the story (written by John Hornby) of two boys,  together with their spaniel 'Rough', who visit their Uncle who is a keen ornithologist  in the Fens, East England. Their Uncle is watching for the very rare avocet which he hopes is nesting nearby. The boys are set to watch and guard the site when an adventure breaks out!

Cover drawn by Sheppard

Frontispiece: He kicked at Rough savagelyTwo boys' dog is kicked by a man

 p.14: Almost hidden among the bushes was a small brick building
Two boys climb the small hill following a man entering the hide

 p.31: They had long thin beaks, slightly curved at the ends
Two avocets in shallow water

p.49:Rough's leap sent him staggering
A man is knocked off his feet by a cocker spaniel – a punt in the background

Dangerous Journey is written by John Kennett and tells the exciting tale of two scouts who are hiking in the Isar Valley having attended the Boy Scout Jamboree at Allburg, Bavaria when they see a car chase with a car plunging off the side of the sheer drop! They become involved in a 'Lady Disappears' type spy plot.





Frontispiece: Before their horrified eyes the car rocketed down into the chasm
Two scouts see a car plunge over the edge

p.14: The boys dived through the trees, gasping for breath
The two scouts are chased by a man in woods

p.31: He wheeled round so quickly that Tich was almost knocked off his feet
The two scouts encounter a bull in a stall.

p.49: Eagerly Ischnitz turned to face him
A man enters a railway carriage wielding a gun while the two scouts and another man are seated


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Raymond Sheppard and Mark Twain

Cover to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Huck and Jim canoeing watch two rabbits on the bank.
The spine shows 2 men standing over a tied-up Huck
I loved the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain since I first read them as a teenager. Later, in those heady days when we didn't have children, my wife and I would read to each other - we didn't want a television at first - and yes, we even did the voices whilst reading Huck Finn.  Gems are to be found in these books:

"The widow rung a bell for supper, and you had to come to time. When you got to the table you couldn't go right to eating, but you had to wait for the widow to tuck down her head and grumble a little over the victuals, though there warn't really anything the matter with them"

I still laugh at that! And how about this:

"Then away out in the woods I heard that kind of a sound that a ghost makes when it wants to tell about something that's on its mind and can't make itself understood, and so can't rest easy in its grave, and has to go about that way every night grieving."
Twain had a really wry sense of humour and was a very keen observer of people. Take the preface he wrote:

PERSONS attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.

BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR, Per G.G., Chief of Ordnance.

Even in his day, he knew some would delve deeply and try to extract a motive in the story, but he was insistent that there was none! And much literature has been written since bypassing this precept! Yes, it is racist, anti-femininst, dated, but boy, it still reads brilliantly!

Raymond Sheppard must have had a really enjoyable time reading (maybe re-reading) the two books and decided what was best to illustrate. It may be that he was told what to picture, we don't know.  Dating these editions is a real chore. Blackie re-issued them several times with and without Sheppard's illustrations. I own two editions:

  • Twain, Mark n.d. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Blackie's Library of Famous Books (?)), Glasgow: Blackie & Son Limited
  • Twain, Mark n.d. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (The Stanhope Library) Glasgow: Blackie & Son Limited
Anyway, enjoy these great book illustrations

Frontispiece: The King tripped and fell overboard
2 men fighting with wooden swords,
one falls in the water off the raft  while
Huck and Jim watch. The raft has a wooden shelter

Decoration of Huck on the board cover

Frontispiece: The King and the Duke practice together
2 men on raft with Jim and Huck in background


p.41: I slid out of the jacket as quick as lightning
Wild scruffy man, kicking over a chair, tries to knife Huck Finn
who escapes his grip


p.111: I read considerable to Jim about Kings and Dukes and Earls
Jim in his straw hat listens to Huck,
who lies back against tree reading aloud with his hat and 
4 books beside him


p.395: We dodged into the bush and let them go by
The two boys and Jim lying in grass
watch as 7 men run by into woods

I always considered The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to be The Hobbit to the Huckleberry Finn's Lord of the Rings Not many people realise that Twain wrote more of Tom's adventures. The American publication dates were:


  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
  • Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894)
  • Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896)
I have read all of these, but I have to confess that the first two still shine above all others, although it's good fun to enjoy Tom's presence once more.

Cover to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Huck and Tom are digging

Spine
Tom Sawyer

Frontispiece: The climbing fire lit up their faces
The three boys sit around a camp fire

p.3: The half-breed saw his chance
2 boys watch from between 2 trees
1 man knocking down another man while another
lies by gravestone

p.18: Tom gave up the brush
Tom gives paint broom to another boy
so he can paint the fence

p. 149: A weird flash turned night into day
3 boys in shock, move around tree
with creepers hanging


p.263: They came flocking down by hundreds
Tom helps Becky down through the cave
whilst avoiding bats flying about

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Raymond Sheppard and the Crusader series - Part One

The Crusader series cover drawn by Sheppard
 The Crusader series, according to my guesses and more importantly the British Library, was published by Blackie & Son Ltd between 1951 and 1962. It was a standard series for Blackie who began business in the first decade of the 19th century and expanded their subscription magazine trade into educational publishing at the advent of the 1870 Education Act which was the first piece of legislation on education in Britain.

Algerian Adventure Frontispiece
"White robes, dark faces, glittering eyes were all round the two boys"
Arab men and boy(?) in fez attack two boys in narrow Algiers street

The series format is the same for all of those I own; 50pages with 4 illustrations in single colour as seen here with the same cover by Sheppard. Back covers have a smaller version of the front illustration and have a single number - see below. The covers are all card- not linen as was sometimes used on school books

Algerian Adventure p.13
“Don't move!” said Mr. Kerr
Mr. Kerr in dressing gown – gun in hand –
with boy in dressing gown face two men, one at a safe

Algerian Adventure p.32
Ken saw three figures move forward in the patch of moonlight
Bird's eye view of boy bound and gagged on donkey
led by man in robe and Arab man alongside

Algerian Adventure p.49
Another desperate push and he had Aboul at the well's edge
Boy pushes man wearing a fez into a well

This list of the Crusader series has been constructed from the actual books I own and the British Library records. However, these needed supplementing, and as my interest is Sheppard, I have italicised and put in square brackets those where I have not seen the Sheppard illustrations..yet! I have also listed the alternate numbers for various titles and I really can't see why Blackie had such a confusing system. The latest publication I have lists the title and numbers and clearly omits those not in print and therefore shows gaps in the run. I wish they had kept the numbering system the same throughout the run. Another hiccup for researchers! Also all dates are mostly taken from accession dates (the date the BL claims it received the book). I have only one some in which, unusually, a date exists but all these are approximate.  Anyway I publish the whole list for anyone interested.

The Jungle Company by Gordon Summers... Illustrated by Raymond Sheppard.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1951. Crusader Series. no. 1
Highveld Mystery by Richard Burns... Illustrated by Raymond Sheppard.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1952. Crusader Series. no. 2
Rustlers at the Bar-Two Ranch by Fay King... Illustrated by Raymond Sheppard.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1952. Crusader Series. no. 3
The Riddle of Monk's Island by Thomas Francis Maher... Illustrated by Raymond Sheppard.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1952. Crusader Series. no. 4
Men o' the Mists by John Hornby...[illustrated by Raymond Sheppard?].
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1951. Crusader Series. no. 5
The Deserted City by Fay King ...[illustrated by Raymond Sheppard?].
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1951. Crusader Series. no. 6
Avocet Island by John Hornby... Illustrated by Raymond Sheppard.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1951. Crusader Series. no. 7
Alternative number - see below:
The Mystery of Middle Tree Island Crusader Series. no. 7
River of Silver by Joseph Grace...[illustrated by Raymond Sheppard?].
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1951. Crusader Series. no. 8
Alternative number - see below:
Algerian Adventure Crusader Series. no. 8
Fen laughs last by John Hornby. ... Illustrated by Raymond Sheppard. 
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1952. Crusader Series. no. 9
Alternative number - see below:
Tiger Hunt Crusader Series. no. 9
The Mystery of Middle Tree Island by Isobel Knight ... Illustrated by Raymond Sheppard.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1952. Crusader Series. no. 10
Alternative number - see below:
The Mystery Skater of St. Michael's Crusader Series. no. 10
Algerian Adventure by Dorothy King... Illustrated by Raymond Sheppard.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1952. Crusader Series. no. 11
Alternative number - see below:
The Aztec temple Crusader series; no. 11
Alternative number - see below:
Tiger Hunt Crusader series; no 11
Tiger Hunt by Percy Alfred Barons... Illustrated by Raymond Sheppard.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1952. Crusader Series. no. 12.
Alternative number - see below:
Lion's Gold .Crusader Series. no. 12
Alternative number - see above:
Algerian Adventure Crusader Series. no. 12
The Mystery Skater of St. Michael's by Ena Grayson... Illustrated by Will Nickless.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1955. Crusader Series. no. 13
Alternative number - see below:
Ghost Canyon . Crusader Series. no. 13
The Aztec temple by Andrew Wood... illustrated by Will Nickless.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1955. Crusader series ; no. 14
Alternative number - see below:
The Ivory Poachers. Crusader Series. no. 14
Lion's Gold by Geoffrey Field... Illustrated by Will Nickless.
 London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1955. Crusader Series. no. 15
Alternative number - see below:
Dangerous Journey Crusader Series. no. 15
Ghost Canyon by John Kennett... Illustrated by Will Nickless.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1955. Crusader Series. no. 16
Alternative number - see below:
Sahara Adventure Crusader Series. no. 16
The Stowaway by George Bell... Illustrated by Raymond Sheppard.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1955. Crusader Series. no. 17
Alternative number - see below:
Mystery on Majorca Crusader Series. no. 17
The Ivory Poachers by Geoffrey Field... [illustrated by Raymond Sheppard?].
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1955. Crusader Series. no. 18.
Alternative number - see below:
Dundi Shah - Beloved Prince Crusader Series. no. 18
Dangerous Journey by John Kennett... Illustrated by Raymond Sheppard.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1955. Crusader Series. no. 19
Alternative number - see below:
Ponies for Sale Crusader Series. no. 19
Sahara Adventure by George Bell.... Illustrated by Raymond Sheppard. 
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1955. Crusader Series. no. 20
Alternative number - see below:
Space Platform 1 Crusader Series. no. 20
Mystery on Majorca by Joan Mary Bate... Illustrated by Will Nickless.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1959. Crusader Series. no. 21
Alternative number - details:
Jungle Picnic by Anne M. Westwood

illustrated by Will Nickless
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1960

 Crusader Series. no. 21
Dundi Shah-Beloved Prince by Anne McDougall Westwood... Illustrated by Will Nickless.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1959. Crusader Series. no. 22
Alternative number - see below:
The Flower of the Forest Crusader Series. no. 22
Ponies for Sale by Alan Charles Jenkins... Illustrated by Will Nickless.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1959. Crusader Series. no. 23
Alternative number - see below:
Pamela in Paris Crusader Series. no. 23
The Ranch Riders by Cecily M. Rutley... Illustrated by Will Nickless.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1959. Crusader Series. no. 24
Alternative number - details:
Malayan Adventure by David Bingley
 Illustrated by John Gardner

London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1962
Crusader Series no. 24
Space Platform 1 by Harry Hardisty... Illustrated by Douglas Relf.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1959. Crusader Series. no. 25
Alternative number - details:
David and Silver Moon by Richard George Milne
Illustrated by John Gardner
 London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1962
Crusader Series. no. 25
The Pearl of Anaru by Michael North...Illustrated by John Gardner.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1962.Crusader Series no..26
Alternative number - see above:
Jungle Picnic Crusader Series. no. 26
The Flower of the Forest by Cecily M. Rutley... Illustrated by Will Nickless.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1959. Crusader Series. no. 27
Pamela in Paris by Janette Henderson Blair... Illustrated by Roger Payne.
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1959. Crusader Series. no. 28
Malayan Adventure Crusader Series no. 29
David and Silver Moon Crusader Series. no. 30
The Pearl of Anaru Crusader Series. no. 31
Return to Fakena by Michael North...Illustrated by John Gardner
London ; Glasgow : Blackie & Son, 1962. Crusader Series. no. 32