In the way I am in denial about collecting King Penguin books (10 doesn’t a collection make, surely?) I am also in denial about collecting Puffin Picture Books. But they really do speak to me, those books, and ask me to take them home. Such fabulous covers and subjects and illustrations. So lovely and learned and helpful in tone.
I recently devoured a book on the history of Puffins by Phil Baines. Considering it is about some of the prettiest publications ever made, it has about the ugliest cover I’ve seen in a long time. But the innards make it well worth the while. Page after page of beautiful books.
But Binding Your Own Books from 1956 wasn’t illustrated in it. If it had been, it would have been in my sticky paws a lot quicker. Written and illustrated by John Woodcock, about whom I can’t find out much more than he designed another Puffin cover for The Puffin Quiz Book, also in 1956 and later went on to teach at St Martin’s School of Art.
The cover of this book is magical and represents my ideal Sunday afternoon activity of cutting and pasting and making nice paper covers. The patterned papers Woodcock illustrates on the cover and inside the book reference the nice covers of the Penguin music score books. Of which, OK, I also have some.
It’s quite funny that this illustration shows how to re-cover your copy of the Pelican book Uncommon Wild Flowers. Sacrilege, these days, surely?