Owls for Halloween

October 30, 2018

Though our abundant holdings of illustrated ornithological works feature many an owl, this Halloween we turn instead to Hootie Toots of Hollow Tree (1925), call number: CA 18807.

Cover illustration.

This small work began as #7 in series 124, the Little Bunnie Bunniekin Series issued by the Henry Altemus Company of Philadelphia, and was subsequently marketed as one in the series Altemus’ Wee Books for Wee Folks. Its author was Mabel Winifred Knowles, writing under the pen name May Wynne.

Our colleague Susan Barribeau, curator of literary collections for Special Collections, has been interested in series issued by the Altemus Company, because Margaret Hoopes (also of Philadelphia) is listed as one of the illustrators for the Little Bunnie Bunniekin Series. For more on the Hoopes and our holdings of their correspondence, sketchbooks, and many published works, see “Uncovering the Hoopes Sisters’ Collection.”

We so hoped that one of the Hoopes illustrated Hootie Toots, but no such luck! As the title page clearly indicates, Frank Ver Beck was responsible for the “illustrations in color,”

which show clearly the mishaps encountered by a young owlet eager to leave the nest.

All’s well that ends well, however, in this wee book for wee folks.

— Robin Rider