September has come round quickly and finally, finally ‘Call of the Wild’ is officially published by UK based children’s book publisher, Miles Kelly and is calling to you from all good book shops…
A rip-roaring adventure, perhaps inspired by the author Jack London’s own experiences in the Klondike gold rush, was first published in 1903 as a series of installments in the Saturday Evening Post. I love the use of composition and white space in the illustration below by Charles Livingstone Bull.
It found its way into book form a month later becoming an immediate success with ten colour tipped illustrations by Charles Livingstone Bull and Philip R. Goodwin and with a colour frontispiece by Charles Edward Hooper. Since then, it has been translated into 47 languages and made into 3 films.
The novel examines ‘the law of the club and the fang’, echoing Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest – apparently Jack London had been reading this before he started writing. Only the strong survive and in this book, usually the ‘strong’ are those who are in tune with the wilderness and far from the softness and stupidity of city life. The canine hero, Buck, has to hear the call of the wild and listen to the true heart of the wolf inside. Eventually he triumphs becoming the leader of the wolf pack at the end.
‘Brown Wolf’, the short story set to finish the Miles Kelly edition, also shares this sentiment. Brown Wolf chooses the harsh, wild but honest world of the pack dog, ever loyal to his first owner and rejects the easy life of ready food and country walks that he finds himself in.
‘Call of the Wild’ joins Miles Kelly’s collection of mini classics adapted for children: ‘The Jungle Book’, ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, ‘The Wind in the Willows’ and ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. Each book has the feel of a traditional classic but with a contemporary edge – 25 colour plate illustrations, spreads with illustrated borders throughout, illustrated oval chapter openers and finally full notes about the author, illustrator and themes of the book all presented in a beautiful card slipcase.
And each book is called a mini classic for good reason as they are small enough to fit neatly into the size of your hand, despite the weight of their literary credentials.
‘Call of the Wild’ can be bought from all good bookshops!