The Water Babies
Author: Charles Kingsley
Illustrator: A. E. Jackson
KINGSLEY, Charles. The Water Babies. Illustrated in Color by A.E. Jackson. London: Humphrey Milford/Oxford University Press . 8vo, 252pp. Gray- blue cloth pictorially stamped in gilt and navy; t.e.g. Pictorial endpapers; 16 color plates, pictorial title, and small b&w illustrations at chapter heads and tails. Spine sunned and rubbed at edges, corners a bit rubbed, cover slightly soiled. Some light foxing throughout, mostly in page margins (no plates affected), else a very attractive copy.
1929 reprint (first published in 1920). Tom, a young chimney sweep, falls into a river after being chased from a house by an upper-class girl. There he appears to drown only to transform into a "water-baby.” Kingsley’s allegory of Christian redemption is also a thinly veiled protest of the mistreatment of the poor in 19th century England and the practice of child labor. This classic children’s fantasy was first issued in 1863, two years before Lewis Carroll’s Alice. A.E. Jackson’s gorgeous watercolor highlight this lush edition.