My favourite books 35: Still – William

Still – William, by Richmal Crompton

Published by George Newnes, 1925

For all I know, this is a first edition – there’s no date on the copyright page.  But it won’t be worth much, as it’s in a shocking condition.  I believe my grandmother bought it for me at a jumble sale in about 1968, which would mean I’ve owned the book for half its life, and must carry some of the responsibility for its physical collapse.  There’s no sign of the original cover:

– but the contents are all present and correct, complete with the sublime Thomas Henry illustrations.  Still – William sees the arrival of Violet Elizabeth Bott, William’s Truthful Christmas, and a thoroughly unacceptable (to modern sensibilities) account of William’s restaging of the Wembley Empire Exhibition.  (Though probably no less unacceptable than the original.)  Crompton was an adult writer who happened to write children’s books, so they can still be re-read with pleasure – or you can let Martin Jarvis do the work for you.

Anyway, this was my first “Just – William” book.  I was immediately hooked, and was swiftly buying new paperbacks of William stories for 3/- a time.  I wish I’d stuck to jumble sales, as editions like this had been shorn of chapters, with the illustrations smudgy and the cover art reprehensible.

Still – William is still – published by Macmillan Children’s Books.

Original dustjacket art: