Blue Flower

This book of fairy tales and ballads was written by Mrs Wilde when she was freshly married with her already famous husband Oscar Wilde. We know she helped his at least a bit at writing his fairy tales but we don't know if he was involved in her book too.

Constance Lloyd Portrait
Constance Lloyd

Here is an index of her stories and ballads:

Little Red Riding Hood

Puss in Boots

Little Bo-Peep

Cinderella

Old Mother Hubbard

The Three Bears

Babes in the Wood

Jack the Giant Killer

Three Little Kittens

The book was printed by Ernest Nister in Nirumberg in 1888, simultaneously published in London and New York

 

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 Little Red Riding Hood

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We all know how this story goes and Mrs Wilde's version is not too different from today most known ones. It includes the scene with a Red Head going into bed to her Granny (who was actually wolf) and the wolf is in the end killed by an axe.

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Puss in Boots

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This is another famous story about a relationship between human and animal but this time a cat acts as a helper to they youngest son who inherited least of all brothers after their father died.

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Little Bo-Peep

A lovely poem popular among kids in 19th and early 20th century.

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Cinderella

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This popular fairy tale, probably the most famous in the world is retold by Mrs Wilde according to the Perrault's version. with glass, not golden slippers and a happy ending for everybody, including the envious sisters.

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Old Mother Hubbard

A playful song for kids about an old woman who is trying to please her dog in countless ways yet the dog always finds a way to surprise her.

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The Three Bears

It's a classic story about the Goldilocks who gets lost in the wood and finds an empty cottage. she tried to find just the right chair, just the right soup and just the right bed. The bears, as you can imagine, are not very happy with the intruder.

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Babes in the Wood

A ballad with a tragic end which is almost forgotten today, but was among the most popular stories or songs for kids in the 19th and first half of 20th century. Mrs Wilde decided to present it in verse.

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Jack the Giant Killer

There are several fairy tales with Jack in the leading role, but two of them stand out - Jack and the Beanstalk and this one, where Jack defeats Cormoran, Galligantua and other giants, even a giant with two and a giant with three heads.

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 Three Little Kittens

Another poem for kids - for the end of the book of Mrs Oscar as Constance Wilde (nee Lloyd) was called in those times.

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 A few words about John Lawson, an illustrator of the book:

John Lawson was born in Dunfermline, Scotland in 1839. We don't know much about his early career except him being a freelancer from 1865 to his death in 1909. He was married to Martha and having four kids together before the family moved to London, England around 1880, where he made a career as an illustrator of books for kids. His speciality were images from Bible stories. Apart from that he illustrated poems, fairy tales and nursery rhymes, sometimes as the only illustrator and sometimes as one of several artists working on the same book.

John Lawson worked for some of the most established publishers in the field of children's literature, like Frederick Warne & Co., Macmillan & Co., George Routledge & Sons, and Ernest Nister.

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Ernest Nister was a successful publisher who was born in Germany but moved to London where he found better business environment, yet still printing in Nuremberg (including the book presented in this article) an unofficial world capital of toys at the time of his prime. He was one of the pioneers in the fast growing and extremely competitive market of children's literature, working with some of the finest artists of his time, including Louis Wain and Beatrix Potter, always trying to offer something new to the reader. Nister is credited as an inventor of pop-up books. First editions of his books are praised among collectors of vintage books.

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