The Art of Book Design: The Dog’s Grand Dinner Party

Jack found out that last week was Cat Week and he’s pissed. He reminded me that we don’t even have a cat anymore and tersely noted that I should have made it dog week. He also said that I got this gig because of him and that I should be more grateful.

Ahem… Sorry Bubba. Allow me to present to you DOG WEEK. Let’s start with a party to celebrate.

John Karst. The Dog’s Grand Dinner Party. New York, McLoughlin Bros., Inc., 1869.


via: Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature where you can read the whole delightful book.

The Art of Book Design: Me and my Pussies

Honor C. Appleton. Me and my Pussies. Illustrations by the author. Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., 1927.

And so ends Cat Week here at The Art of Book Design.

I couldn’t find a copy of this one for you to read, but the David and Joyce Milne Public Library will let you look at several of the illustrations. They’re completely charming.


Cover Photo via: Stella and Rose’s Books

The Art of Book Design: The Cat and The Mouse: A Book of Persian Fairy Tales

Hartwell James. The Cat and The Mouse: A Book of Persian Fairy Tales. Illustrated by John R. Neill. Philadelphia, Henry Altemus Company, 1906.

I was a cat person long before I was a dog person and it’s still cat week (which I didn’t announce) so this seems like a good fairy tale choice. The book is interesting because it contains artwork from 2 different sources. The frontispiece and title story The Cat and The Mouse are illustrated by an unnamed traditional Persian artist and the remainder of the book is illustrated by John R. Neill, who is famously known for illustrating the stories of Oz.

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The Art of Book Design: I am a Cat


Natsume Soseki. I am a Cat. (1906) First English translation published in 1909. Translated by K. Ando and revised by K. Natsume. Tokyo, Hatori Shorten, 1906-1909.

This classic book, written by one of Japan’s most celebrated novelists, is a satire of Japanese society during the Meiji period (1868 – 1912) when western customs were first being incorporated into the country. It’s written from the perspective of a supercilious and eloquent housecat who humorously comments on the people and events that fill his life.

I couldn’t find a copy of the book for you to read, but it’s been reissued many times (and in many languages) and is available at most major booksellers. If you’d like to read a few quotes before deciding to buy, the site Cocosse-Journal is the place to go. I’ll share just this one quote from the book:

“Thus, as I review the list of my friends and acquaintances, most of them emerge as stained with
 maniac stigmata of one sort or another. I begin to feel considerably reassured. The truth may
simply be that human society is no more than a massing of lunatics.”
                                                                    – from I am a Cat via Cocosse-Journal

Cover photo via: Old Timey Cats

The Art of Book Design: Space Cat

Ruthven Todd. Space Cat. Illustrated by Paul Galdone. Charles Scribners Sons, 1952. Photo from

Space cat is a series of 4 books written in the 1950’s by Scottish novelist Ruthven Todd about Flyball the cat and his adventures in outer space. The books are filled with charming illustrations by Paul Galdone who also designed the set of 4 covers that have made the books highly collectible and hard to find. The Book isn’t in the public domain so I can’t send you to read them, but in 2018 the set was re-issued and is available for purchase at a reasonable price. Here’s the link to Amazon, but the books can be found at most major book stores. Click through if you’d like to see the other 3 book covers – they are fun!

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The Art of Book Design: The Green Forest Fairy Book


Loretta Ellen Brady. The Green Forest Fairy Book. Illustrations by Alice B. Preston. Boston, Little Brown & Co., 1920.

I’ve included all the colour plates in this book below the fold. The drawings are done in a limited palate in the Art Nouveau style and I think the artwork is charming.

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The Art of Book Design: Who Killed Cock Robin

Our book today was sent in by Anne, Cranky Cat Lady. I am greatly amused that our resident Cat Lady is sharing a book about the killing of a bird.

Who Killed Cock Robin & Other Stories. New York, A.L. Burt Co., 1916. Photo courtesy of ©Anne, Cranky Cat Lady

Who Killed Cock Robin & Other Stories. New York, A.L. Burt Co., 1916. Photo Courtesy of ©Anne, Cranky Cat Lady