If you’ve been following WritingRedux, you may have noticed a number of pawky playful gems from Arthur Ransome’s children’s books. While I have (so far) only read three of the many he wrote, this has given me enough 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 books by Jonathan Cape, but for cover illustrations, 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 utterly 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.




  1. 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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