Yet Another Journal

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» Monday, June 02, 2003
And in our newest installment of "book illustrators who don't read the story"...

Check out this photo.

Way back at the turn of the last century, Margaret Sidney (the pen name of Harriet Lothrop), wrote a series of 12 novels about the Pepper family, the initially fatherless brood struggling to survive with "Mamsie" doing sewing for various merchants in town and the eldest, Ben, as a chore boy for one of the locals. They all live a Spartan but ultimately joyous life in Badgertown: Mother Pepper, Ben, Polly, Joel, David, and the adorably cute Phronsie. Then one day life changes for them when they befriend Jasper King, a rich boy--but they always remain the uncomplicated, loveable Peppers.

Except in this edition, count the kids on the cover.

Who's that other little blond girl in the lower lefthand corner? The picture is quite obviously from the Peppers' pre-King years, the children on the doorstep of their beloved Little Brown House. The Pepper children have no playmates their age in Badgertown, which seems to be solely populated with older people of their social set. So who's the blonde? Did somehow in this edition Phronsie developed an evil twin? (And Lord knows Phronsie could use one... [grin]) Also, all three of the boys look younger than the responsible Polly at center. Yet Ben is two years older than she is and has several inches on her.