Subtitled 'A William Morris Adventure', the story begins on a rainy Monday afternoon in the front room of Jen and Ed's Grandma's house. Jen (age 13) and Ed (age 10) live with Grandma since the death of their parents, but her finances are looking shaky. All they have left is a tapestry from her time at Morris and Co. That and a talking blackbird called Mead. In an Alice-esque moment Jen and Ed tumble into the tapestry and find themselves not in Wonderland, but in Victorian England, hot on the heels of William Morris, who maybe able to help them mend the tapestry and save their Grandma's house.
|Detail of Jen and Ed flying on the back of Mead|
|William Morris and his Trellis design|
John Plotz has brought the world of William Morris alive in an unexpected way. This book is aimed at children, yet I thoroughly enjoyed the rip-roaring adventure, tracing the items that are listed in a poem while simultaneously telling the story of Morris' life. The illustrations by Phyllis Saroff are beautifully detailed and reminded me in a way of Kit Williams' work, with the same love of nature and close study.
|A horse at Kelmscott|
Finally, I must say how much I appreciated the note in the back explaining the typeface used in the book. It is set in Golden Type ITC Standard, a modern font closely based on Gold Type, designed by Morris and Emery Walker for the Kelmscott Press. It is such attention to detail and love of the subject that makes this book a delight to read.
You can get a copy from Amazon UK here and US here