Friday, May 6, 2016

Baby Dear by Esther Wilkins & illustrated by Eloise Wilkin

Have we discussed my great love for Eloise Wilkins before? Probably. But she is one of my favorite children's illustrator. Her pictures of sweet, chubby toddlers with abundant nature sprinkled throughout are marvelous.

This book was actually written by her sister-in-law and illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. As adorable as it is, it was partially a promotional piece for the dolls Wilkin created for Vogue Dolls. (I think we had a Baby Dear doll when we were little.) But we can forgive any self interest that might have been involved because the pictures are cute.

Cute pictures cover a multitude of (possible) sins. 

I don't have the book Baby Dear, but I do have a copy of this book, which includes Baby Dear. This is a pretty well done treasury, including the front cover picture and possible end paper picture for each story. 

Her itty bitty saddle shoes! The wallpaper! The chubby little Baby Dear! Her little rocking chair!

Daddy gave her Baby Dear the day her Mummy came home from the hospital with a new baby sister. 

Wilkins does fabulous wallpaper. Do you see the lamp on the table? It is sort of scrinched in the binding. But it is some kind of South Pacific potentate with a light sticking out of his head. 

This picture pretty much encapsulated what I expected motherhood to be. The quietness. The neatness. The small, tender, smile on the mother's face as she feeds her baby, her hair neatly done and a fresh flannel nightgown on. The older child calmly and quietly emulating her mother. There is no indication of fatigue, no wincing from sore nipples, no fussing because the baby has a cold and can't nurse properly, no messy room because I am too tired to care, no impatience with the older sibling who needs your attention....

Eloise Wilkin's gave me unrealistic expectations.

 But amidst all the mess and fuss and impatience of my experience of motherhoood, there is the same love and joy and delight that Eloise Wilkin makes pictures of. It just isn't an all the time occurrence. 

I love this little girl's seriousness in taking car of her doll.

Baby baths

This picture! The red leaves of fall, the vintage stroller, the darling little edelweis on her hood, her lovely red coat, Baby dears adorable outfit, the plaid blanket....I think I love everything about this picture. I remember this picture so vividly from my childhood. 


I, too, was going to sit down at my desk during naptime and write....something. 

Singing in a blue and white room

Telling their babies that they are the best in all the world. Beside a gorgeous full length window and crackling fire. 

Yes. please!

Holding Mummy's baby while Mummy tidies up the nursery and puts neatly folded stacks of something away. Do you see the size of this nursery? 

And this nice older sister is already planning all the sharing she will do when her baby sister grows up. Little does she know of all the poaching on her territory her little sister is fully intending to do. 

I love Eloise Wilkin. 


  1. I wonder how many thousands or hundreds of times I read this book to you kids?

  2. My parents bought me this book and a Softina doll, just before my little sister was born. I named the doll Baby Dear, of course.

  3. Oh how perfectly adorable! (I just had to do a quick google for the softina doll and it is lovely.) Hooray for fabulous parents. :-)