Bite the hand

Kathleen Burrell illustrations Mr Popplecorn book

The illustrations in this children’s book are luminous. They are by Kathleen Burrell. Now, I looked her up – the research bit is by far the best bit of writing a blog – but other than the Popplecorn books, I couldn’t find much.

The endpaper of this book mentions she had free-lanced as an Underground and shipping poster designer. And there she was in the London Transport Museum’s collection but as Kate M Burrell. With examples of posters from the 1920s and 1930s. I haven’t found any shipping posters or anything else from her ‘Kate’ period.

Mr Popplecorn Tasker, & Moo was published in 1948 by which point Kate had become Kathleen and she’d apparently left behind posters for book illustration, murals and educational work. There my research trail ended.

The dog in this book, Tasker, deserves mention here. His problem is that he can’t eat if the servants give him his food. He can only eat if a ‘friend’ does it. Mr Popplecorn is that friend and he comes to the rescue. Talk about biting the hand that feeds. We don’t really see Mr Popplecorn in the illustrations. Not sure if he appears in the other Popplecorn books, I’ll have to investigate.

But that dog needs to be taught some manners.

N. B. Moo was a Moorhen and can be seen flying away in this spread from the book.

Kathleen Burrell page illustration

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