Early Influences

I grew up on Little Golden Books. The older ones – like How Big and The Little Book and Bow Wow Meow. Like most kids, I was taken in as much – if not more – by the illustrations as the words that accompanied them. But it wasn’t until I re-discovered them, as a mother, that I realized just how deeply some of these books may have entered my psyche.

Not long ago my son, Oliver, received a Little Golden Book Collection of nine classic stories illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. Eloise was a frequent illustrator for the 69-year-old publishing company, and her style was both whimsical and rich with detail.

According to a write-up by her daughter Deborah Wilkin Springett, included as an introduction to the book, Eloise drew much of her inspiration from her own home, and regularly featured her children and grandchildren when they were still small.

Looking, now, at some of her artwork, I continue to be taken in by the pictures – but for different reasons. The detail of the wallpaper, a china pattern, a household of antique furniture and accessories, or a street full of heritage homes now captivate me.

Did an early study of such style unknowingly seep into my subconscious and influence the style of home I now try to emulate? Or the way I love to dress my kids?

Or the dishes I use to feed my pets?

I am smitten with this patio – small, like mine, but with more brick. And I, too, keep my garden in pots.

I would be quite happy in this house.

Of course, there are myriad influences all around us. But knowing that the first glimpses into these worlds could possibly have some baring on later taste just gives me one more reason to choose such books for my own kidlets. That, and they’re just endearing reads.

– Words by Lori-Anne Poirier

– Images from Little Golden Books, published by Random House Inc and Western Publishing Company Inc.

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