Virtual Children's Books Exhibits


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On the Boardwalk




13.  Kathleen Hale, author/illustrator.
Orlando (the Marmalade Cat): A Seaside Holiday.
London: Country Life Limited, 1952.

Kathleen Hale shows many other distractions and diversions besides swimming at Owlbarrow-by-the-Sea, which was modeled after Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast where the composer Benjamin Britten lived. Orlando the marmalade cat and his wife Grace relax in the sun on a folding striped deck chair next to their friends Venus and Vulcan the horses. Kittens Pansy, Blanche, and Tinkle are amusing themselves at the water's edge. Hale's felines actually enjoy going swimming (Grace does not get soaked, thanks to her outlandish inflatable navy costume).

The books about Orlando and his family were issued in a very large format measuring 10 x 14 inches, similar to de Brunhoff’s Babar stories. She drew directly on the Plastocowell plates to take full advantage of the color offset lithographic process. When the first title, Orlando (the Marmelade Cat): A Camping Holiday, appeared in 1938, it was acclaimed as a British masterpiece. In spite of the beautiful and gently satiric illustrations, the Orlando books never quite caught on the other side of the Atlantic. Many of them have been recently reissued in facsimile. (Image Credits)