HarperCollins, in a misguided move to make Laura Ingalls Wilder's LITTLE HOUSE books more "relevant," is removing the classic illustrations by Garth Williams from upcoming paperback editions.
The covers on the new editions, available in January, will feature photographs of a girl. There will be no illustrations inside.
Williams' art will still be available in other editions.
Williams wasn't the first to illustrate the LITTLE HOUSE books -- that honor went to Helen Sewell and Mildred Boyle -- but he was the best. It's hard to imagine the books without his beautiful pictures. Williams did extensive research before undertaking the project.
A decade or more ago I attended an exhibit at an art gallery in Hollywood which featured several of Williams' original drawings for the books, along with his original painting of the cover for CHARLOTTE'S WEB. For someone who grew up with these books, seeing Williams' artwork was quite a moving experience.
It's sad to think that HarperCollins believes no illustrations at all are somehow going to be easier to market to today's children than the Williams editions, but there you have it.