Jack Frost’s Little Prisoners

Stella Austin, S. Baring-Gould, Caroline Birley, E.H. Nachtbull-Hugessen, Charlotte M. Young, Mrs. Lucy Massey, Mrs. Molesworth, Anne Thackery-Ritchie, Ethel Mary Wilmot- Buxton. Jack Frost’s Little Prisoners. A collection of stories for children four to twelve years of age. Boston, Knight and Millet, 1887.

Welcome to December at The Art of Book Design. We have a full month of winter-themed books to share and I thought I’d start with a title that expresses how Jack and I feel about winter when it’s icy outside. It’s a book of winter stories for young children, and I love the little birds that decorate the cover.

via: The George Smathers Library at the University of Florida

The Art of Book Design: Goody Two-Shoes

Goody Two Shoes. New-York, McLoughlin Bro’s, 1888.

I’ve always wondered about the origin of the expression “Goody Two-shoes,” and I finally found the answer in a Victorian Era’s Children’s book. This is not the original version, which I have been unable to locate, but the story is the same. It was initially published in 1768 by John Newbury Co. In London and tells the story of an orphaned girl who does well in life despite her impoverished beginnings. As with most stories of the time, the girl succeeds by being unfailingly kind and sweet, and she is rewarded with a happy marriage to a wealthy man. Uggh! So it’s basically Cinderella without the cinders and marriage is the ultimate success for a girl. Goody’s brother also does well, by going to sea and having lots of adventures while amassing a fortune. Why do the boys always get to have adventures, but the girls must become capable and good wives?

It’s a short book, so I’ve attached all the illustrations below the fold if you’re interested.

It isn’t certain who wrote the story. In those days, publishing houses paid writers for anonymous work. Some people argue that Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith may have penned the story. Others suggest that John Newbery himself wrote the story, or possibly Giles Jones, a friend of Newbery’s. There is little evidence for any of these claims.

The 1768 book isn’t the origin of the phrase, however, which is first seen in literature in 1670 in the book Voyage to Ireland in Burlesque by Charles Cotton.

Mistress mayoress complained that the pottage was cold;
‘And all long of your fiddle-faddle,’ quoth she.
‘Why, then, Goody Two-shoes, what if it be?
Hold you, if you can, your tittle-tattle,’ quoth he. 

                            – Voyage to Ireland in Burlesque, 1670, by Charles Cotton

The phrase being used in this instance to point out the Goodwife’s (Goody) privilege (having 2 shoes as opposed to others who have none.) The 1768 book did, however, make being a Goody Two-Shoes into a desirable trait for a girl.

Next week we’ll look at a different sort of book for girls.



Source for book and illustrations: The Internet Archive

Source for information on Goody Two-Shoes:  Wikipedia

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The Art of Book Design: The Black Dog

A.G. Plympton. The Black Dog and other stories. Illustrated by the author. Boston, Roberts Brothers, 1896.

I promised Jack that I would read him this story on the weekend. His best friend is a black dog named Leo, and Jack is convinced that black dogs are the most fun. I hope the story is full of adventure with a happy ending. Those are the sort of stories that Jack likes best. Me, I enjoy reading stories out loud that are full of interesting characters so I can make up voices and play-act a bit. Jack usually pretends that he doesn’t care about that, but I know he loves it, too.

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

That fellow up there with Jack is his daddy, Mr. Voyager. Jack was positively thrilled to have daddy along today- he loves doing things as a family and is happiest when we’re all together. If either the Mr. or I go out, Jack will fret a bit until we get back home. That’s why we take him with us just about everywhere (if it’s not too hot.)  Jack loves to go for car rides, especially if we go to a drive-through where food is involved. His favourite drive-through, though,  is the one at the Beer Store. The staff there always make a fuss over him when they put the beer in the car, and Jack usually steals a kiss and often gets a cookie. If we stop to shop, we leave Jack in the locked car with the windows slightly open for ventilation. He likes to people watch and is usually sitting in the driver’s seat when we get back. I always tell him he isn’t old enough to drive, but Jack doesn’t think that’s funny, and he usually tells me I need to get new material. He’s probably right, but there’s also an argument to be made for the sake of continuity of custom and ritual.

Today we just went to the woods and back with no stops in between and Jack had no complaints. Daddy went for a walk with him in the forest, so today everything is right with the world. I feel the same way, Bubba.  I’m also happiest when we’re all together doing things as a family.

The Art of Book Design: The Poetical works of John Keats

Today’s book was sent in by one of our readers, Vanessa. The book has a simple cover, but it’s beautiful inside and comes with a touching story that Vanessa is graciously sharing with all of us.

John Keats. The Poetical Works of John Keats. London, Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, 1917

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