Eloise Wilkin is one of my all-time favourite illustrators. As a child, I spent hours adoring her sweet scenes of adorable children and babies in my Little Golden Books. The children’s lives were so expertly captured in each beautiful picture, and all the little details of play and surrounds were carefully included. I loved the expressions, the clothes, the poses and activities, the toys, the decor, the gentleness of it all.
I was confronted with the lasting impact of these beautiful illustrations when I chanced upon some Little Golden Books for sale on Ebay about a year ago, and there were the pages I remembered so clearly, but until now, had forgotten. I was amazed by how many of the Golden Books which I had read and loved as a child were illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. As often happens in a large family, most of my books and toys were passed along to other siblings and cousins, or disappeared during our childhood years.
I have managed to obtain second hand copies of my favourites: My Dolly and Me, Good Little Bad Little Girl, Baby’s Birthday, Where Did the Baby Go, A Day at the Playground, We Help Daddy, Baby Dear, and The New Baby. I was also thrilled with Eloise Wilkin Stories, which I bought new from Amazon.com. This book includes the classics: Busy Timmy, Guess Who Lives Here, My Little Golden Book about God, Wonders of Nature, Selections from A Child’s Garden of Verses, We Help Mommy, Baby Listens, Baby Dear, and Baby Looks.
It has a beautiful introduction by Eloise Wilkin’s daughter, Deborah Wilkin Springett, whose pride in her incredibly talented mother is so evident as she shares her mother’s inspiring story. Also included is a fitting remembrance by Jane Werner Watson from 1987. In it she reflects that ‘a warm and creative homemaker, Eloise shared with the world glimpses of her big, busy, welcoming household, in rooms papered with gentle patterns, its drop-leaf tables and rocking chairs aglow with hand rubbed sheen, its four-poster beds covered by hand-stitched quilts. ‘(p209)
Thank you Eloise for sharing your wonderful gift with the world.