Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Emily (1959)

I've run into technical difficulties, so am resorting to posting sans images. Which is a pity, as this book has very lovely paintings. The cover can be seen here.

Emily (aka Emily, The Traveling Guinea Pig)

Emma Smith, il. Katherine Wigglesworth

1959, an Astor book published by McDowell, Obolensky

Emily was a guinea pig who loved to travel.

When Emily decides to take an excursion to the sea, she worries that her brother Arthur, a gardener who tends to be somewhat hapless, will be lost without her. No worries, assures her brother. He'll be fine. So Emily sets out.

She carried an umbrella and a capacious canvas bag. They hampered her walking, but she did not know how she could go on a journey with less. She had to have an umbrella as shelter against the sun or the wind or the rain. And as for the bag, it was full to the brim of neccessary things. Her painting equipment and her diary ; food and a change of clothes ; kerosene lamp and tea kettle, a rug, hammock, a ball of string, a pair of scissors ; adhesive tape and iodine in case of an accident, and needs and thread in case she tore her dress ; also a box of matches. Emily liked to be ready for anything.

She meets various creatures, but her most important encounter is with the rather silent weasel, who helps her carry her useful but heavy bag, shares a meal, and is a rather sinister presence.

Meanwhile, back at the house, Arthur and his bachelor buddies are having a wonderfully lazy time eating and sleeping and not lifting a paw to do chores.

Will Emily reach the sea? Will the weasel prove predatory? Will Arthur clean the kitchen before Emily returns home? It's all very sweet, and accompanied by beautiful Kate Wigglesworth paintings.

About the Author


aka Elspeth Hallsmith

The online verdict seems to be that she had a brief, early flash of high respectability with her first two novels, then vanished off the face of the earth after starting a family. She re-emerged recently under the support of novelist Susan Hill.

About the Illustrator

____ - 1986

Katherine Semple married biologist Vincent Wigglesworth in 1928, and they had four children. She lived in Lavenham, a village in Suffolk, England. The village made the news this year after scenes from the upcoming Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows film were shot there. Lavenham's scenes will be used to bring to life Godric's Hollow, the place where Harry lost his parents and acquired his scar.

Other books - children's

Emily's Voyage (1966) il. Irene Haas (sequel)

Out Of Hand

No Way Of Telling

Other books - adult

Maidens' Trip

The Far Cry

The Opportunity Of A Lifetime

The Great Western Beach (memoir)


A list of guinea pigs in fiction

The original publisher, Astor Honor

Lavenham website

Sir Vincent Wigglesworth obituary

Suffolk Free Press story on Harry Potter filming