If you’ve been following WritingRedux, you may have noticed a number of pawky playful gems from Arthur Ransome’s children’s books. By now I’ve read four of the many he wrote, giving me enough material to write a review and to share dozens of witty delights.

This post celebrates the beautiful cover illustrations by Pietari Posti for the Vintage Classics series. For quality of paper and print, I prefer the hardback books by Jonathan Cape, but for cover art, Vintage wins hands down. There is a gorgeous colour harmony across the covers, in a teal-to-turquoise spectrum, with warm highlights in yellow, red and orange. They also convey something of the period when the books were written (1930s and ’40s), while being clean and contemporary.

My one gripe? Why haven’t Vintage made these available as greetings cards? Why, when you buy the book, isn’t there a postcard of the cover illustration tucked inside? Please, don’t bore me with issues of cost and inconvenience, I am writing from a reader’s perspective, not a publisher’s.

So, dear Vintage Classics, please send me a wad of these postcards, and I promise to write handwritten, heartfelt recommendations to a number of children I know, and post them. And I mean ‘post’, with a stamp and an address. I might even try ‘pigeon post’, the title of one of Ransome’s books.

In the meantime, I have assembled as many of them as I can find on this Pinterest board, and you can visit Pietari Posti’s website here. Please feel free to read my review of three of Ransome’s books here.


Arthur Ransome, Vintage Classics - book cover illustrations by Pietari Posti
Arthur Ransome, Great Northern, Vintage Classics book cover illustration by Pietari Posti
Arthur Ransome, Picts & Martyrs, Vintage Classics book cover illustration by Pietari Posti
Arthur Ransome, Big Six, Vintage Classics book cover illustration by Pietari Posti
Arthur Ransome, Pigeon Post, Vintage Classics book cover illustration by Pietari Posti
Arthur Ransome, Winter Holiday, Vintage Classics book cover illustration by Pietari Posti
Arthur Ransome, Swallowdale, Vintage Classics book cover illustration by Pietari Posti


  1. Andrew

    I grew up with the Puffin editions (cover was usually one of the internal illustrations, coloured in) and having read them until they starrted falling apart, replaced them with the red fox editions (similar covers).

    I used to lust after the original Montage style covers, and if I won the lottery, I’d have a set of hard-backs with the original dustcovers (reproduction is fine, I’m not that obsessive, honestly)

    But these “Vintage Classic” covers! I want postcards or even larger, to frame and hang on the wall. Beautiful Art by itself, which also evokes so many happy memories of the books.

    • beatriceotto

      Thanks so much for sharing your Ransome book cover history, Andrew, heartening to know there are others who get enthusiastic about these things. So glad you also like the Vintage Classic ones, in addition to the classic covers. Happy reading!

  2. Michael Fanning

    Lovely illustrations, indeed, Béatrice. The cover to “Swallows and Amazons” that captivated me in the small public library in Garrett Park, Maryland, when I was a youngster was, however, a beautifully drawn and colored map with a fabulous scroll containing the title. When I first gazed on that map, I was transported to a foreign land, and couldn’t wait to crack the book. It didn’t disappoint! I read your review of this seminal English children’s book and couldn’t agree more with your assessment. In today’s highly digitized world, the rather quaint adventures of the Walker children still resonates.

    • beatriceotto

      Thanks for sharing this, Michael. You’ve shown how a front cover design can captivate a child and those memories remain deeply imprinted, with all the adventure or other emotion they brought at the time.

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