Friday, September 11, 2009

vintage children's book: please sit still

a few weeks ago i showed you one of my favorite picture books, 'wings on wednesday' written by natalie scott and sandra smith, and i promised i'd show you some more of their work. well, here is 'please sit still.' the illustration is equally wild, and though 'wings on wednesday' will always have a special place in my heart, this is another fantastic book.

it was published in 1969 by paul hamlyn pty ltd in australia. you can see it in the national library of australia collection here.

please sit still: cover

the story follows toby and sarah, who are twins. they go to holiday with their aunt edith who lives by the sea and each day they go for a different outing. everywhere they go they wiggle and squirm and aunt edith clicks her tounge and tells them "please sit still my darlings."

please sit still: prince

on monday they go for a ride on the ferry and they fidget. on tuesday they visit the dentist, where they squirm. on wednesday they visit the theatre. they're so excited to see a princess in a golden crown and a prince riding a brave white horse that they can't possibly sit still and aunt edith clicks her tounge and tells them "please sit still my darlings. how you two do wiggle and squirm!"

please sit still: visiting

on thursday they visit aunt edith's friend, miss spratt in her best room. they eat all the cream cakes and drink all the lemonade and they want to explore but aunt edith says "please sit still my darlings. how you two do wiggle and squirm!"

please sit still: circus detail

on friday it rains and they play cards inside with aunt edith, all the while fussing about. on saturday the go to the circus where they're too excited to sit still. "please sit still my darlings. how you two do wiggle and squirm!" says aunt edith (click here to see the full page spread of the circus)

please sit still:

on sunday they go to church in their best clothes where they wiggle about like the other children. on monday aunt edith is too tired, so the twins play outside in the garden: "out in the garden the sun was shining. there were shady green tres and tangles of flowerbeds and secret places. beyond the garden there was a beach with wide butter-yellow sand and beyond the sand was the sea which rippled like a great blue carpet and curled frothing white where the waves broke on the beach."


While playing outside, toby and sarah wonder why aunt edith wants them to sit still. they ask the sun who tells them things would be in a mess if he sat still. they ask the trees who can't give them an answer either: the wind blows the trees so they're rarely still either. they ask the birds who think sitting still is a terrible idea, and they ask the sea who tells them there is nothing as restless as it.

please sit still: moon

when night falls they still don't know why aunt edith wants them to sit still. their father picks them up and they go home. In bed, toby asks the moon if he knows the answer, and the moon tells them he's been on the move for thousands of years.

in the morning their mother asks them why they're so still, so the ask her about aunt edith. she tells them if they were still she'd think something was wrong and adds "there's plenty of time to sit still when you grow old!" indeed.

apologies for posting this so late in the day, a certain child of mine who also won't sit still is having a birthday party on the weekend, so i've been busily preparing! i hope you enjoyed seeing more of sandra smith's art, i really wish i knew more about her. if anyone knows anything, please comment!


Pip Lincolne said...

Oh my gosh!
And you scanned all those pages!
Go you! Thanks for a lovely story Ms Pilgrim! Now it's back to Jane Eyre for me! xx

Pilgrim Lee said...

i did. i scanned them all by myself :) didn't think i could do the book justice without LOTS of pictures! happy jayne-eyre-reading times ms pip! xx

amilelka said...

Thanks so much for posting this! Love the moon & curtains picture. I am now on the hunt for my own copy :)
Please let us know if you do find out anything more about the illustrator.

Leila said...

Thanks for posting this, I just love the drawings of those years, it's so fantastical on top of magical, love it!

Pilgrim Lee said...

amilelka - you're welcome! good luck finding a copy :)

Leila - it was a great era for design!

zofia said...

Oh, gorgeous book! Thanks for showing all those pics.
I love it when you can stumble on some beauties like this at the op-shop on a really good day.

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