Virtual Children's Books Exhibits


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Creepy Crawlies



7.  Ernst Kreidolf, author/illustrator.
Sommervogel. 6-11 Tausend.
Cologne: H. Schaffstein, c. 1924.

This is the caterpillar garden of Herr Hermelin, the ghostly white figure in the lower left-hand corner. He visits the pen every morning before breakfast, so he can admire their gorgeous coloration, stroke their backs, and make sure that each of his beauties is getting its favorite vegetation and is feeding well. Although the gaudy caterpillars look as if they must be products of the illustrator’s imagination, all of them are actually found in nature.

Kreidolf (1863-1956) was one of the most important Art Nouveau book illustrators in the German-speaking world. The anthropomorphized plants and animals inhabiting the pages of Sommervogel are among his most haunting creations. Like all Kreidolf’s picture books, the various elements from the elegant type to the ravishing endpaper pattern of butterflies with half-closed wings have been artfully harmonized.