Monday, 18 May 2015

Raymond Sheppard and Collins Famous Dog Stories

Spike of Swift River and Silver Chief: Dog of the North were both written by Jack O'Brien, and published by Collins for their Famous Dog Stories series. The former was published in the copy below in 1958 and has a cover very similar to "Silver Chief" and "Tan" (more on this later). But Christine Sheppard and I don't think it is by Raymond Sheppard. It has similarities to his work but there is no signature and the dog's shadow does not match the dog!

Cover by unknown artist

List of Collins Seagull Library
The frontispiece, with a group of men watching a fist fight – with a dog in the background, is interestingly Sheppard's signed work where the rest of the book is illustrated but by Kurt Wiese!
Dan's coiled right struck again, and McQuade's head jerked back
According  to an article by David Ouse, "O’Brien continued his life of adventure in the 1930s, [after travelling to Antarctica] using his experience with sled dogs to take several prospecting trips to northern Canada". He wrote in total four books about the next dog which first appeared in 1933.

Silver Chief: Dog of the North, in the same series has no illustrations apart from the cover and the frontispiece which are both drawn by Sheppard!
Silver Chief cover by Raymond Sheppard

With the speed of a flashing shadow the dog leaped
"Jack O’Brien was living in an apartment in New York City when he died of cancer at the age of forty-one on December 6, 1938. Two more novels were discovered with his papers and published, with some reworking, after his death: Silver Chief’s Revenge and Royal Red" - Ouse, Forgotten Duluthian Jack O’Brien, 2013

The third title I own in the "Collins Famous Dog Stories" series is Tan: a wild dog by Thomas C. Hinkle.

Tan: a wild dog Cover

Tan hit the grey wolf like a ton of bricks

Hinkle has quite a fan-following in those readers who like pony and horse stories. He lived from 1876-1949 and you can find a biography and photo on Onanga, Kansas Rootsweb site.

I had an enjoyable few hours browsing images on the Internet from this series and have listed them below, but none appear to be drawn by Sheppard. And interestingly I think the only one I would wonder about would be Spike!

List of Collins Famous Dog Stories
Courtesy of Jane Badger Books
  1. Kenneth Gilbert: Wolf Dog Valley
  2. Thomas Hinkle: Vic, a Dog of the Prairies 
  3. Thomas Hinkle: Tan, a Wild Dog 
  4. Thomas Hinkle: Gray, the Story of a Brave Dog
  5. Jim Kjelgaard: Lion Hound 
  6. Jim Kjelgaard: Outlaw Red
  7. Jim Kjelgaard: Stormy: a Boy and his Dog in a Fight for Justice
  8. Jim Kjelgaard: Wild Trek
  9. Jack O’Brien: Silver Chief, Dog of the North
  10. Jim Kjelgaard: Irish Red
  11. Jack O’Brien: Spike of the Swift River
  12. Lathrop West: Jet, Sled Dog of the North
For more information on Collins Seagull Library take a look here


  1. It's a shame that books aren't still done in this style today, Norman. I loved the look of the Dean & Son and Collins books that were given out as Sunday school prizes. I'm always keeping an eye out for them in charity shops. Maybe one day, DCT will turn the Black Bob books into a series of novels - I'd certainly read them. (Not much to do with Raymond Sheppard, I know, but wanted to leave a comment so you don't feel ignored.)

    1. I totally agree Kid. And if anyone knows about nostalgia it's you! I too loved a lot of books back then like the Deans but was extremely disappointed when they had no illustrations inside and were usually printed on that grotty pulp paper. I definitely judged the book by its cover!

  2. Very impressive post! I can't say I'm an expert in Raymond Sheppard's work, but now I wish I'd know more about him.

    By the way, I'm a big fan of Brian Bolland and I always visit his blog, I noticed you are a fan as well, so I thought it would be a good idea to invite you to my blog. I write about comics and recently I've started reviewing classic Judge Dredd stories:

    I hope you enjoy my review, and please feel free to leave me a comment over there or add yourself as a follower (or both).



    1. Hi Arion, I had a look at your blog which amazes me as you're not only proficient but also bi-lingual. I did learn some Spanish a long time ago and feel comfortable reading it so enjoyed seeing your blog. Thanks for writing