Seems to me I am becoming a bit of a cliché as I get older. Although the ‘getting older’ bit means I don’t really mind too much either. One activity I (erroneously) always associated with getting older is bird-watching. At the very mention I’d scuff my feet and sigh ‘boring.’ But, see, what is telling is I have always collected bird shaped objects. Much beloved of my favourite period of design: 1930’s – 1960’s and indeed after, were birds. As pattern, motif and shape. The Marion Mahler fabric. The Vistosi bird. On lots of Scandinavian ceramics and quite a bit of Hornsea too. Now the King Penguin books are feeding this growing hobby. These small books are amongst my favourite ever books. Sized to please in the hand. And on the shelf. They take up so little room you can continue to buy them for a good long while before admitting you actually collect them. My Garden Birds of 1945 came from a charity bookshop in Southport. I pack light when going to visit friends in Southport as I always come away with some pile of books.
This book has super colour illustrations of birds. Very pretty – the birds all sitting amongst roundels of blossoms and berries. The cover and frontispiece have equally super illustrations by Sylvia Varley. I like the matt paper the books are formed out of, too. The later ones have matching dustwrappers – two layers being better than one. Most of all I like the way the King Penguins have patterned or illustrated covers. Commissioned from the great and good illustrators and commercial designers of the day. I’m thinking perhaps this won’t be the last King Penguin that appears here.