The Marginalian
The Marginalian

The Bed Book: Sylvia Plath’s Vintage Poems for Kids, Illustrated by Quentin Blake

“Most Beds are Beds for sleeping and resting, but the best Beds are much more interesting!”

In 1959, Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932–February 11, 1963) — celebrated poet, little-known artist, lover of the world, “addict of experience,” steamy romancer — penned a lovely children’s story about the perils of self-consciousness. But it turns out it wasn’t her only: In 1976, Faber published The Bed Book (public library) — a series of fanciful poems about different kinds of beds, written for Plath’s own children, sprinkled with fantasy and escapism. The original British edition, of which I was fortunate to track down a copy, was illustrated by the celebrated and prolific children’s book artist Quentin Blake, best-known for illustrating Roald Dahl’s stories as well as the first Dr. Seuss book not illustrated by Seuss himself.

Alas, the American edition, published later that year by HarperCollins, did away with the Blake illustrations — but used copies of the British one can still be found online or borrowed at some libraries.

Complement The Bed Book with other lesser-known children’s books by literary titans, including William Faulkner, James Joyce, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, Mary Shelley, Leo Tolstoy, Oscar Wilde, Aldous Huxley, Gertrude Stein, James Thurber, Carl Sandburg, Salman Rushdie, Ian Fleming, and Langston Hughes.

Published April 4, 2013




Filed Under

View Full Site

The Marginalian participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn commissions by linking to Amazon. In more human terms, this means that whenever you buy a book on Amazon from any link on here, I receive a small percentage of its price, which goes straight back into my own colossal biblioexpenses. Privacy policy. (TLDR: You're safe — there are no nefarious "third parties" lurking on my watch or shedding crumbs of the "cookies" the rest of the internet uses.)