A couple of years ago, I picked up this pretty vintage copy of Eleanor and Herbert Farjeon’s Kings and Queens, a verse history of the English monarchy, first published in 1932. The book made a palpable, improbable hit with my first grader, who loved the sketchy kings:
“John, John, bad King John / Shamed the throne that he sat on.”
“Nobody dared / To say a word, / And Crookback Dick / Became Richard the Third.”
“Please remember James was not / An English monarch, but a Scot. / Also, James had goggle eyes, / And drank more liquor than was wise.”
The British Library just reissued Kings and Queens in a facsimile edition, with the original illustrations by Rosalind Thornycroft. I promptly ordered three copies. The kid’s response? “Fine, but you can’t sell OUR COPY.”
So here’s Kings and Queens, not for sale. At least not yet. Maybe never.