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Mid-Century children's books

Graphic design
- 29 Sep 2015 -
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Graphic design

Mid-Century was a prolific period for furniture and product design but not only. We are currently rediscovering the world of twentieth century graphic designers. Especially children's book illustrators.

Here is an example: The title of this book in French is « Très grand et tout petit » published by Editions des deux coqs. The title in English is « The big little book » publisher: Golden press New York.

It was written by Dorothy Hall Smith and illustrated by Moritz Kennel in 1962 (The year of our birth).

More to come…

If you have children's books with nice illustrations, please feel free to share them in this thread.


Mid-Century children's books
books & magazines


- 29 Sep 2015

That's a very nice example P&A.

With a four year old boy in the house we have an ever growing collection of childrens books, many of them handed down through the years or found in charity shops.

I'm very fond of the Mid Century books, the illustrations are wonderful, often with a whimsical folksy style which perfectly sets the tone for the narrative of the story.

The current favourite is The Tiger That Came to Tea, written and illustrated by Judith Kerr in 1968.

- 29 Sep 2015

Fredun Shapur (of Creative Playthings fame) Round, Round and Square.

- 29 Sep 2015

The Long Eared Cat (and almost everything by) Olle Eksell

- 29 Sep 2015

Mary Blair
Peter Pan

(and almost everything else)

- 29 Sep 2015

Alice and Martin Provensen illustrated droves of children's books--amazing modernist illustrations.

- 29 Sep 2015

Bruno Munari has quite a selection of children's books. I ususally give them as gifts when I see them at thrift stores.

- 29 Sep 2015

I've long been a big fan of anything illustrated by Alice & Martin Provensen. They were very prolific illustrators over decades---not just of children's books but also school text books, at least one cookbook, advertising, and other stuff. Some of the books they illustrated are still in print ("Color Kittens" is great). They also worked in different styles over the years.

- 29 Sep 2015

There are so many great illustrators...

Jim Flora is another fun one.

- 29 Sep 2015

Simply charming!

This was my favorite book as a toddler.


Aunt Mark

- 29 Sep 2015

I know they're not from a book exactly, but they're educational posters from schools in the 50's! I have a set of about twelve ranging from fairy tales to nature....I love them! I'm going to get them framed eventually.

- 30 Sep 2015

Barbara Walsh and Jamie Wyeth Sammy in the Sky for Candlewick Press qualifies only as a children's book. I enjoy the Wyeth families' work. My copy is signed with an additional illustration. It is good.

- 30 Sep 2015

Wow a lot of nice books here!

An oldest one from the 30’s. « Bourru » l’ours brun (the brown bear) text by Lida and illustrations by Rojan. Publisher Flammarion, France.
Fedor Rojankowski, was born in Poland but lived and worked in Paris in the 20’s and 30’s. He is very well known for his children books in the « Albums du Père Castor » collection. But he was also a very eclectic artist. Search his name in Google Image if you want to see his other works (well,...maybe not if you are at your work place).

- 30 Sep 2015

And then there are these classics by Czech illustrator/author Miroslav Sasek. A bunch are back in print as of the moment. This is not the full selection!

- 30 Sep 2015

Yes Spanky, Sasek's books are wonderful. Here are some pictures from our french version of "This is New York".
Visit this website for more info about Mr Sasek's work:

Thanks for the link Jesgord.

- 30 Sep 2015

I just picked this one up for $1.50! Great illustration and typography by Helen Frederico 1963.

- 01 Oct 2015

A cute little hungarian book "Bölcsödében" (Nursery), 1977
Illustration by Vera Zsoldos.

- 02 Oct 2015

A recent acquisition: "Timoléon découvre l'Asie" (Timoleon discovers Asia). Illustration and text by Jacques Galan, France. Publisher: Hachette

Mr Galan website:

- 05 Oct 2015

A glimpse of a psychedelic belgian book "Hippolyte et le caméléon", 1972. Publisher: Dupuis. Author Charles Degotte (1933-1993) who was also a well-known author of comic books. Decors by Dany Thiry.

- 05 Oct 2015

This is one I picked up a while ago when my son was a toddler. The art is fabulous, but a bit odd. It's called True to Life ABC, published in 1952 and the art is by Johan Polak

- 06 Oct 2015

Love this thread. Have many of the ones already mentioned. Here's another.

Ten Big Farms by Dahlov Ipcar, 1958.

- 07 Oct 2015

Great book jjw!

The famous french illustrator Alain Grée published over 300 books, most in the 1960s and 70s. Here are a few pictures from our copy of "La Rivière", 1966. Publisher: Casterman, Belgium.
There is a very nice website dedicated to his work:

- 08 Oct 2015

Another favorite.

"Which Way To The Zoo" by William Wondriska, 1962.

- 13 Oct 2015

The cover of "Which Way To The Zoo" is amazing!

Another one: "L'arbre de Léonard" (Léonard's tree) text by Marie Tenaille and illustrations by one of the Boland sisters. Suzanne Boland (Belgium 1913-2008).
Publisher: Casterman 1973

- 13 Oct 2015

I'm a fan of Virginia Lee Burton, though her books were a little earlier than the MCM timeframe (late 30s to early 50s). They have that sensibility, though. And the stories are great! So many books these days are either preachy or they are written to appeal to hipster parents more than kids. Or they're just bad. Of course there were insipid stories back in the day too, but it seems worse now.

- 19 Oct 2015

A colorful little book titled "Antonin et le petit cirque" (Antonin and the little circus). Text by Charles Degotte and illustration by one famous belgian comics author Will (Willy Maltaite 1927-2000). Publisher: Dupuis (1967)

- 21 Oct 2015

Dick Bruna (1927), The Netherlands
Miffy since 1958

- 20 Nov 2015

Just found this one. A French version of "La storia della nostra amica Luna" (The story of our friend the moon). Text by Franco Goy and Vezio Melegari. Illustrations by Giorgio Carapelli, Uta Glauber and Laurent Marquart. Mondadori, 1960

- 06 Apr 2016

A german children book from the sixties.
French version edited by Dupuis, Belgium.
Original title: "Das rote auto und der Peter" (Peter and his red car). Boje-Verlag, Stuttgart (1966).
Text by James Krüss, illustrations by Erich Hölle

- 06 Apr 2016

What's wrong with this picture: Rosie O'Donnell's Crafty U for Simon & Schuster (signed copy). Not mid-century and probably wrong in any century.

I do my best to remember Rosie O'Donnell was excellent in A League of Their Own. I also like signed books. I was compelled to pay the 90¢. The growth of colorful lime deposits on charcoal briquettes seemed to be a good project...

- 06 Apr 2016

This is a little earlier than mid-century but I see elements of it in there. It's a page from a Danish song book for children, c. 1910. I got it on Etsy because I loved the composition and the colors. I'll stick it in a nice frame and it will go on my the wall somewhere eventually.

The one of the runaway cookie is from the same book. I found them when I was searching for "danish toy soldier" ---another page that has since been sold was a really great illlustration of little soldiers marching off to battle, I guess---very reminiscent of Bojesen soldiers. I almost got that one but then I saw the boat picture.

- 22 Sep 2016

Tricoti Tricota text by May d'Alençon, illustrations by Françoise Themerson. Flammarion, France. 1939

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