March 31, 2013 - Happy Birthday, Andrew Lang

The Blue Fairy Book,
      The Red Fairy Book,
             The Green Fairy Book,
        The Yellow Fairy Book,
The Pink and the Grey and the Crimson and the Violet and the Brown and the Orange and the Olive and the Lilac Fairy Books!

Trying to list all of Scotsman Andrew Lang's books is a big order—because these twelve books are just a fraction of all the books he has published! Andrew Lang is credited with writing many articles and books on literary criticism (which means he reviewed books that other people wrote), anthropology, mythology, history, and travel. He also wrote fiction and poetry. But he is most famous for his Fairy Books of Many Colours.

Which, by the way, he didn't actually write!

Andrew Lang, born on this date in 1844, is primarily known as a collector of fairy tales and editor of the Fairy Book series. He cultivated many different sources, people who traveled about, discovering and writing down oral stories from all over the world. Lang edited the stories so that they were suitable for children, hired illustrators to depict the stories, and published them in volumes.

One of Lang's brilliant ideas was publishing the books with colored bindings that matched their titles. In this simple way Lang created a brand that people could recognize and collect, back in a time when there was very little product branding. If a family already owned two or three of his fairy books, it was quite likely that they would go on collecting each as it was published.

Andrew Lang's illustrated fairy books were hugely popular and just as hugely influential on children's literature! Many other people jumped on the bandwagon and published collections of fairy tales.

Celebrate Lang by reading fairy tales, of course.

  • Here is a website with links to many of Lang's books, including the Fairy Books.

  • Here is a website that displays many of H.J. Ford's illlustrations for the Lang Fairy Books. Click the pictures that you want to see in larger format!

  • At the bottom of this post are two fairy crafts. 

Or...Create your own collection!

You could choose your own favorite fairy tales (from anywhere and everywhere), print them out, illustrate them, and thereby create your own Fairy Book.

Also on this date:

Easter (also here)

Cesar Chavez Day

Chemist Robert Bunsen's birthday

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