Here is yet another children’s author who illustrated her own books.
Elizabeth Enright: the perfect writer for children. Her books create a world of utter joy, salted with enough realism to make it possible for you to link them to your own life.
She is best known for the “Saturday’s” series. It starts with “The Saturdays”: The four Melondy children pool their pocket money in a club so that each of them can have a turn to have an interesting outing on a Saturday.
What is so wonderful about Elizabeth Enright is that she can infuse an ordinary situation with such intense life. The oldest girl, Mona gets her long hair bobbed at the hairdresser and travels the whole road from excitement to guilt to redemption. Oliver (the youngest) visiting the circus all by himself and in one afternoon experiences intense wonder, fear and lonelynes, love and comfort.
She taps directly into that childhood dream of having access to a place where one can be free of adult supervision, which is adventurous and a little dangerous but somehow still safe. Here is one of her illustrations of “The Office” which is the room in which the Melondy children spend most of their time. A glorious mess, layered with the years of occupation by the Melondy’s:
Or another illustration from a later book, where the children get to move to the country and live in a great big victorian monstrosity called “The Four Storey Mistake”:
I particularly love another series – “Gone Away Lake” and “Return to Gone Away” which is about a different set of children all toghether. The setting here is of two children who discover an abandoned summer resort.
The illustrations here were done by another husband and wife illustration team, Beth and Joe Krush. The library is closed today, but watch this space! I will scan in some of their drawings. These books are such a mix of childlike joy and adult compassion, written with love and understanding and a true memory of what it was like to be a child.