Saturday 17 April 2021

Signed Books: PUSS IN BOOTS by Philip Pullman and Ian Beck


Having recently written in praise of the work of my friend, artist and illustrator, Ian Beck, I thought I'd choose this signed volume as it links him with another of my heroes, Philip Pullman...



The Adventures of that Most Enterprising Feline Puss in Boots (2000) is an ingeniously-presented retelling of that popular fairy-tale, the oldest version of which was written by Italian author Giovanni Francesco Straparola, who included it in his The Facetious Nights of Straparola (c. 1550–1553). Later, of course, it found its way into French and the better-known narrative found in Charles Perrault's 1697 book Histoires ou contes du temps passé. This particularly delightful interpretation combines an elegant nod to the antique ('Written by Mr. Philip Pullman and Illustrated by Mr. Ian Beck') with a modern graphic-novel twist...


I first encountered Philip Pullman when I interviewed him for a radio programme I was making about J. R. R. Tolkien and I mentioned that Tolkien had intended his stories of Middle-earth to be seen as having taken place in Britain thousands of years ago. "Well," he responded, "I'd be happy to accept that as a fact when an archeologist finds the first hobbit skull!"


We met again when I was writing my 'making-of-the-movie-guide' to the 2007 film version of his The Golden Compass – indeed, I have a copy of my book signed by Mr P which I picked up on ebay! Other signed Pullmans in the collection are the 'His Dark Materials' trilogy (inscribed to me by the author and illustrator, John Lawrence), The Book of Dust and Daemon Voices.


Puss in Boots was a purchase and – apart from everything else delightful about the book – I especially like the fact that the author and illustrator have signed the title-page in the same antique style as their names are printed: each preceded by a 'Mr.'





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