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Wherein you will find posts with humor, photos, reviews, occasional rants and journalistic entries of interest to me alone but that I hope will touch you, the reader, in some way. I remain sincerely yours,
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Another Book Review: The Works of Dare Wright

Our mother read to us often.  Though I only faintly recall her doing so, there are books, the memories of which are tightly associated with my Mom.  Some of those stories were written by Dare Wright.  

Dare Wright was an exceptionally beautiful and fascinating woman who found her niche when she discovered photography and created some hauntingly beautiful children's books.
In 2004, her work began to be noticed by a new generation on the publication of a biography entitled, The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll, by Jean Nathan.  Sadly, this book does Dare a great disservice and one is better off reading of her by those who knew her best.

Bringing out my own copies of these treasures and turning the pages, the photos are so familiar as to create an almost physical twinge of delight.  Dare was a master at creating a moment and a mood.  Her artistry in black and white invokes feelings so deeply as to have these books indelibly imprinted in your mind.

The Lonely Doll was her first release in the series. It was our introduction to Edith and Mr. Bear.   The book struck a chord with millions of little girls and Dare obliged their ardor with nine more books about Edith, the lonely doll.

My very favorite was Holiday for Edith and the Bears.  Growing up on the Cape, the photographs of Edith and the Bears in my world, so to speak, made this book the most tangible to me, though I knew the shells to be Floridian. 

Edith and her bears had many adventures, ten in all, and I loved them all. 

Dare also wrote and photographed another book that resonated deeply with my sister and I.  It was called Lona and my sister would not rest until she owned a copy for her very own.  It is an evocative tale of a girl named Lona who is under the power of a wizard called Druth and her struggle to challenge him and become free.  It was photographed in Scotland and it is a visual masterpiece.

Dare also did a series of educational children's books called the "Look at" series.  I only ever saw one of these but it is a gorgeous photographic essay on the life of a seagull.  I am proud to own a copy of this one as well.

 While I am a collector of vintage children's books, (to the extent of my non-existent budget), I don't collect them for the sake of having them.  I collect them because of what they mean to me.  These books are friends, memories, links to my childhood, part of my makeup, treasures more than gold or jewels.  These are gifts from the author for me to share with my own children and they to theirs.  Thanks Mom.  Thank you Dare. 

The stories of childhood leave an indelible impression, and their author always has a niche in the temple of memory from which the image is never cast out to be thrown on the rubbish heap of things that are outgrown and outlived.  ~Howard Pyle

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