The author of these much-quoted lines is William Blake, who painted and wrote his marvelous books nearly two hundred years ago. Inspired by Blake’s work, Nancy Willard has written a book of magical poems about life at an imaginary inn, run by none other than William Blake himself. The inn is staffed by two mighty dragons that brew and bake, two angels that wash and shake the featherbeds, and a rabbit who shows visitors to their rooms. Among the remarkable guests are the Man in the Marmalade Hat, the King of Cats who writes his wife not to “grow fat like a common kitchen cat,” and two sunflowers who demand a room with a view.
The flawlessly crafted illustrations by Alice and Martin Provensen reflect their deep love for William Blake and the London in which he lived. Together, text and illustrations combine to create a once-in-a-lifetime book that will be cherished by readers of all ages.
Nancy Willard has loved William Blake’s poetry from the day she first heard it. While writing the poems in this book, she built a six-foot model of the inn, decorating it with moons, suns, stars, and prints of Blake’s paintings. The model with its residents–the characters that appear in this volume–stands in her living room. <p/> Nancy Willard published her first book when a high school senior–an inset in the Horn Book, which was called A Child’s Star. Formerly a lecturer in the English department at Vassar College, she is the author of a number of well-received children’s books, including Sailing to Cythera: And Other Anatole Stories and The Island of the Grass King: The Further Adventures of Anatole, both winners of a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award.
Alice and Martin Provensen have been honored by the Art Books for Children Citation of the Brooklyn Museum, by the Gold Medal for illustration of the Society of Illustrators, by exhibitions at the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and by being included on the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year list on nine occasions.
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