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  • The Water Babies – Charles Kingsley – 1920’s edition – illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith.

    The Water Babies – Charles Kingsley – 1920’s edition – illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith.

    The Water Babies was first published in 1863 in the midst of the Darwin’s developing theories on evolution .. more about that later.

    Water Babies has been re-issued numerous times, none more beautifully illustrated than this book. Published by Boots the Chemist (perhaps their best work during their foray into the book world).

    A substantial book … thickish quarto, ix, 240 pages with 12 super coloured plates, tipped in. Original green decorative cloth covered binding. Some spots on the page edges as usual (spongy paper), none on the plates, a very attractive copy of a desirable Water Babies.

    For those not in the know, a complex book, partly a satire supporting Darwin’s theory of evolution as commenced in “On The Origin Species”. The text briefly refers to Darwin, Huxley, Murchison and Owen.

    Huxley’s grandchild wrote to him after reading the book … “Dear Grandpater (they were posh) – Have you seen a Waterbaby? Did you put it in a bottle? Did it wonder if it could get out? Could I see it some day? – Your loving Julian” … Julian went on to be one smart chap also and wrote a great biography on Grandpater. Enough of that back to the book.

    As well as the whole evolution theme there are also pointers to Victorian issues … the gulf between the Have and the Have Nots. Protagonist Tom is a young chimney sweep not the son of an aristocrat. Later explorer Paul Du Chaillu shoots a gorilla who had reverse evolved from a human … the gorilla wanted to say ‘Am I not a man and a brother” .. further references to slavery etc etc. So all up quite a though provoking tale and still with modern day lessons … just need to think a bit.

    Water Babies a very special book and special beautifully illustrated edition

    $220.00

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  • The Evil Shadow – A Johnny Nero Adventure – 1967

    The Evil Shadow – A Johnny Nero Adventure – 1967

    Published by Fleetway in 1967 as part of the Secret Agent Series … this number 19. Card covers, perfect bound, 122 pages plus end fill cartoons.

    Quiet scarce, particularly in this condition. An upmarket, more adult, cartoon book. The Evil Shadow is set in Egypt, starts with a bomb at the Aswam dam under construction. A gold finger is found with links to valuable art work thought to be taken by the retreating German army in WWII.

    High profile businessman Johnny Nero has a side line as a secret agent … and is recruited to solve the mystery along with his formidable secretary Jenny Bird they have a busy time …

    Johnny Nero dealing with the “Evil Shadow” and statuesque Jenny Bird never a hair out of place.

    $30.00

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  • Ungava: A Tale of Esquimax-Land – Robert M. Ballantyne

    Ungava: A Tale of Esquimax-Land – Robert M. Ballantyne

    One of the most prolific writers of adventure for the young Scottish born Robert Michael Ballantyne (1825-1894) went to Canada at the age of 16. There he worked for six years for the Hudson Bay Company. In his autobiography he said that writing long letters to his mother on the goings on of the fur traders was the stimulus behind his first books.

    His first was “The Hudson Bay Company” and then “The Young Fur Traders” … this book was his fourth. He went on to pen over 100 books to the delight of his adventure seeking followers.

    An early 20th century edition published by Nelson, London. Octavo, 509 pages, blue cloth covered boards with sailing ship design and design to spine, coloured frontispiece. A very good copy indeed.

    A party of explorers head into Eskimo territory to establish a fur trading post at Ungava Bay. Situated in the Nunavik region of Quebec.

    Ballantyne in one of those “live there did that” adventures.

    $60.00

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  • The Gold Trail – Henry Stacpoole – First Edition 1916

    The Gold Trail – Henry Stacpoole – First Edition 1916

    From the author of The Blue Lagoon and The Pearl Fishers.

    A first U.S. edition published by John Lane, New York in 1916. Octavo, 308 pages plus publishers advertisements. Original clay coloured cloth covered boards with striking design in black and gilt to front. Inner hinges re-enforced, bookplate removed from front past down, some age marks, internally pretty bright and clean. A pretty good copy of a now very scarce book

    Irish born Henry Stacpoole (1863-1951) was for some time a ship’s Doctor mostly in the South Pacific. He later became a very successful author. His novels often based in New Guinea or the Pacific Islands reflect his in depth understanding of the environment, people etc.

    This novel, titled “The Reef of Stars” in the UK starts in Sydney .. a venture is formed and off to New Guinea … up a river a heroine is found among the local tribes … the unfortunate Maquart goes made over his inability to move a fortune in gold … etc tense stuff in equatorial New Guinea,

    Scarce early novel based in unknown New Guinea

    $50.00

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  • The Invisible Island –  Alexander MacDonald – 1911

    The Invisible Island – Alexander MacDonald – 1911

    A Story of the Far North of Queensland … by Alexander McDonald and illustrated by Charles M Sheldon.

    Published by Blackie & Sons, London, Glasgow, octavo 360 pages with pictorial image to front cover and spine. A little age otherwise a very good copy and especially clean internally.

    The book opens on an island in the south west of the Gulf of Carpentaria … “Through the dank, shimmering heat haze the island loomed in ghostly outline”

    Six full page illustrations including the frontispiece.

    Adventure and gold in the Far North

    $60.00

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  • Steve Young or the Voyage of the “Hvalross” to the Icy Sea – Fenn – circa 1915

    Steve Young or the Voyage of the “Hvalross” to the Icy Sea – Fenn – circa 1915

    The author George Manville Fenn was a prolific writer of adventure stories for the young in the Victorian era.

    Published by Partridge and Co, London. Octavo, 416 nicely illustrated. Evenly browned internally otherwise a very good copy. Embossed illustrated boards and spine in near fine condition. Looks a beauty.

    A rare book and we cannot find the title on his “official’ list of publications This edition circa WWI era .. we cannot find any other contemporary copies available.

    Hvalross is Norwegian for Walrus. Steve Young is an orphan whose uncle, Captain Young has disappeared on a voyage in and around Spitzbergen in the Arctic Ocean. The Captain’s friends charter a boat the Norwegian “Hvalross” to search for him. Sixteen year old Steve goes along much to the disgust of the ships Doctor who thinks young fellows are just a nuisance. Gales, storms, intense cold and Polar Bears … strong currents complete darkness all add to the adventure.

    Scarce adventure on the “Walrus” up around Spitzbergen …

    $80.00

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