05 March 2011

Eudoria's Broomstick



'They had twenty-two pints of beer each and promptly fell asleep', copyright Victor Knowland, and reproduced by kind permission of the author-and-artist's family. (Please do not copy).

Just over two years ago I blogged here about my favourite children's books, including Eudoria's Broomstick by Victor Knowland, and I also mentioned the book as a favourite when I was interviewed by The Guardian last summer. So far so normal.

Then a couple of weeks ago a most delightful and unexpected thing happened - I had a lovely e-mail from Victor Knowland's daughter Adrienne, telling me something of the book's continued use in the family, and the fact that their father had originally read it aloud to her and her siblings at bedtime, which meant that they couldn't wait to get to bed! She also very kindly gave me permission to put up one of the illustrations here - thank you, Adrienne!

Above, therefore, as a tribute to Victor Knowland, is his splendid image, originally done in scraperboard, of the Bus Conductor and the Driver (in the distance) sleeping off their lunch. At this point John, the hero of the book, his ever-hungry duck, Puff, and their companion Legs, a beetle, are travelling in search of Eudoria's lost broomstick, and their bus fares must be paid in food. The Conductor and Driver stop early to consume what they've collected in this way: hors d'oeuvre, turtle soup, fish and chips, roast duck, peas and new potatoes, trifle and cream, steam pudding, jelly and custard, pineapple slices, ice cream, coffee and milk chocolate. A splendid scoff at any time, and particularly considering that the book was published in 1950, when there was still some food rationing in place!

18 comments:

Jilly said...

I love the picture and the quote!

NAM said...

Thought you might! I still live in hope that somebody will re-issue this book. I feel more hopeful about that than I did, since realising that I'm not the only fan.

Jilly said...

I wish someone would reissue it.

andy said...

I managed to find this book on ebay after spending 35 fruitless years searching for it. I used to read it in the school library circa 1971.

NAM said...

You really were lucky, Andy - and with the school library, too, as the book was 21 years old by that point, and you were supposed to be reading Roald Dahl or Alan Garner!

andy said...

ha ha, yeah read mr garner at school and godfried bowmans weird tales or summat was another junior school favourite. we should all start a campaign to get eudoria re-published.

David said...

Great! I borrowed it as a schoolboy from Leeds central Library around 1958 and managed to buy a copy at the great bookshop in Alnwick some 40 years later.

Chris Heal said...

Anybody who knows the book speaks of it with real joy. Our family had a copy - I lent it to a wonderful girl; it was never returned. Found a copy in Hay on Wye - only cost me £2.50, but my delight would have been just as great had I had to pay MUCH, MUCH more. Bought a copy with d/w from ebay, and then sent the Hay on Wye copy to JK Rowling for her daughter to enjoy. Maybe JK would sell that copy? Today,I was looking online for an illustration from EB to add to an ebay auction - not to sell EB, but alluding to its 'wonderfulness' - and came upon your blog. In the light of Adrienne's comments, I shan't upload a picture after all. I hope Adrienne comes to apppreciate how fondly VK's book is remembered -and by many more people than she may have realised hitherto.

NAM said...

Thanks for the comments, Chris - I forwarded them to Adrienne.

Michalsuz said...

I am 64 - my sisters and I had to share out our children's books when we left home - a long time ago - , and Eudoria went elsewhere. I haven't got over it, and have been hunting for the book for many years.

Ethna said...

I have loved this book since my childhood back in the late sixties. My sister has our original copy but a couple of years ago I managed to buy myself a copy over the internet. The story is wonderful and the illustrations are my all time favourites. Lovely to hear about the family of this wonderful author.

Rebecca (mrsroe@talk21.com) said...

I used to borrow this book from the public library in the 1950's. I really liked it. Round about the time that Andy was reading the book in 1971 I was requesting it, without success, from Newcastle under Lyme public library. I still have the slip that records it's not being found - it's got a note on it: 'Not reported on BRL' - which I suppose means the British Library hasn't got it.
Anyway, I occasionally try looking for this book on line, and today when I googled was the first time I actually found anything.
I'm so pleased that one or two copies are still around, and hope to find one some day.

Rebecca

Marie-Claire said...

I am in my twenties and as a child I used to read my father's copy from when he was a boy - it was my favourite book ever. I have been trying to find a copy online for over a year now. But recently I came across my father's old copy again and I cannot explain how happy I was to see it! The illustrations are incredible and the story still makes me laugh. Somebody really needs to reissue this book so today's generation can enjoy it too. I will certainly pass my father's copy on to my children.

Marie-Claire said...

I am in my twenties and as a child I used to read my father's copy from when he was a boy - it was my favourite book ever. I have been trying to find a copy online for over a year now. But recently I came across my father's old copy again and I cannot explain how happy I was to see it! The illustrations are incredible and the story still makes me laugh. Somebody really needs to reissue this book so today's generation can enjoy it too. I will certainly pass my father's copy on to my children.

Marie-Claire said...

I am in my twenties and as a child I used to read my father's copy from when he was a boy - it was my favourite book ever. I have been trying to find a copy online for over a year now. But recently I came across my father's old copy again and I cannot explain how happy I was to see it! The illustrations are incredible and the story still makes me laugh. Somebody really needs to reissue this book so today's generation can enjoy it too. I will certainly pass my father's copy on to my children.

Marie-Claire said...

I am in my twenties and as a child I used to read my father's copy from when he was a boy - it was my favourite book ever. I have been trying to find a copy online for over a year now. But recently I came across my father's old copy again and I cannot explain how happy I was to see it! The illustrations are incredible and the story still makes me laugh. Somebody really needs to reissue this book so today's generation can enjoy it too. I will certainly pass my father's copy on to my children.

Marie-Claire said...

I am in my twenties and as a child I used to read my father's copy from when he was a boy - it was my favourite book ever. I have been trying to find a copy online for over a year now. But recently I came across my father's old copy again and I cannot explain how happy I was to see it! The illustrations are incredible and the story still makes me laugh. Somebody really needs to reissue this book so today's generation can enjoy it too. I will certainly pass my father's copy on to my children.

Zachary Knowland-Barker said...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Eudorias-Broomstick-ebook/dp/B009YPNZVI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1352416542&sr=8-2