"AMONG THE BEST EVER WRITTEN FOR CHILDREN": FIRST EDITIONS OF MILNE'S FOUR POOH BOOKS, IN ORIGINAL DUST JACKETS, SIGNED IN ONE VOLUME BY MILNE AND ARTIST ERNEST SHEPARD
MILNE, A.A. When We Were Very Young. WITH: Winnie-The-Pooh. WITH: Now We Are Six. WITH: The House At Pooh Corner. With Decorations by Ernest H. Shepard. London: Methuen, 1924-28. Four volumes. Small octavo, original pictorial cloth, top edges gilt, original dust jackets. Housed in a custom slipcase. $21,000.
First editions of Milne's charming "Pooh Quartet"— the volumes of verses and tales that immortalized Christopher Robin, Winnie-the-Pooh and their friends from the Hundred Acre Wood— enchantingly illustrated by Ernest Shepard, in original dust jackets, signed on the title page of Now We Are Six by both Milne and Shepard.
"Although Alan Alexander Milne wrote novels, short stories, poetry and many plays for adults, in addition to his work as assistant editor for Punch from 1906 to 1914, it is his writings for children that have captured the hearts of millions of people worldwide and granted Milne everlasting fame" (Silvey, 461). Milne wrote most of these poems at the request of friend and fellow poet Rose Fyleman, who was planning a new children's magazine. "On a rain-blighted holiday in Wales, [Milne] escaped from the crowd of fellow guests to the summerhouse, and for 11 days wrote a set of children's verses, one each day… 'There on the other side of the lawn was a child with whom I had lived for three years [his son, Christopher Robin]… and here within me were unforgettable memories of my own childhood.' He added more verses when he got home, enough for a book, and allowed some to be published in advance in Punch" (Carpenter & Prichard, 351). Shepard, a Punch staff artist at the time, provided delightful line vignettes, resulting in "a wonderful marriage of verse and vision. His delicately precise and fresh drawings had an instant appeal" (DNB). When We Were Very Young is second issue, with page ix numbered (any first edition copy is exceedingly scarce). Payne I.A-IV.A. Cutler & Stiles, 115-16. Small bookseller ticket.
Books generally fine, with mild soiling to cloth of Now We Are Six; restored dust jackets bright with usual mild toning to spines, staining to Now We Are Six.