Category Archives: Uncategorized

H. J. Ford, 1860-1941


Ford, Queen of SnakesHenry Justice Ford is the beloved illustrator of Andrew Lang’s Color Fairy Books, from Blue (1889) to Lilac (1910)—1200 pictures, 437 stories! His line drawings and occasional water colors also fill Arabian Nights Entertainment (1895) and Pilgrim’s Progress (1921). Ford is especially acclaimed for his fantastical creatures: giants, ogres and monsters. As one contemporary artist has said, “Now, that’s a witch!”

At the age of 61, he married a young widow, and spent another three decades in good health, rubbing elbows with P. G. Wodehouse and Arthur Conan Doyle and playing cricket with J. M. Barrie.

Really? Cricket? at 80?

Edmund Dulac, 1882-1953


April A-Z Blogging Theme: Picture This! Traditional Fairy Tale Illustrators. (You may not know it, but I am on a first-name basis with some of these fabulous artists!)

Dulac Sinbad

“Sinbad,” from The Edmund Dulac Picture Book for the French Red Cross, 1915.

French-born Edmund Dulac arrived in London in 1904 just as improvements in the color separation process made it possible to print images that replicated the original artwork almost exactly. However, images had to be printed on coated paper which then had to be inserted by hand into the folios. After World War I, such costly gift books fell from fashion, so at the tender age of 35, Dulac’s profession became obsolete. He had “peaked” early. After that, he sustained himself meagerly by producing magazine illustrations, playing cards, postage stamps and banknotes for the young Queen Elizabeth II, and other graphics.

In 1915 during the Great war, Dulac published a “relief book” to raise funds for the Croix Rouge Francais. The Edmund Dulac Picture Book for the French Red Cross included his images above of the Persian lovers “Layla and Majnun” and “The Real Princess.”

Gustave Dore, 1832-1888


April A-Z Blogging Theme: Picture This! Traditional Fairy Tale Illustrators

Dore HopThumb

Considered too grim for Victorian children, this “Hop o’ My Thumb” illustration was omitted from the 1867 English translation of Perrault’s Fairy Tales.

No starving artist, Gustave Doré!

This French engraver’s skill and his prolific output (he produced some 80,000 wood engravings and lithographs, 400 oil paintings, and 30 works of sculpture) made him a millionaire twice over! He illustrated Balzac, Rabelais, Milton, Dante, Poe, Lord Byron, Cervantes, the English Bible, and Perrault’s Les Contes de Fées. Acclaimed throughout his career, he ultimately faced some criticism for his “dark” fairy tales.

In an era of black and white printing, his images brought colorful characters to life. Perhaps best known is his Don Quixote, which greatly influenced later illustrators as well as casting studios.


Lascivious and conniving, Bluebeard shows his gentle wife which key not to use. Puss in Boots calls out, “Help! Help! The Marquis of Carrabas is drowning!”

Dore Quixote

Once seen, can Doré’s image of don Quixote and Sancho Panza ever be forgotten?



Walter Crane, 1845-1915

Crane, Bluebeard

Bluebeard’s Bride. Note the wall panel behind her featuring her precursor in curiousity, Eve.

Watercolorist Walter Crane was a Socialist and a noteworthy contributor to the English Arts and Crafts Movement. Like his friend, the movement’s founder William Morris, Crane’s artistic vision was to bring beauty and sensibility to people’s daily lives: their clothing, their homes, their useful objects. Thus, he illustrated practical and educational materials and texts as well as literature and classics such as Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene and Grimm’s Household Tales. His fine linework, decorative backdrops and page layouts summon images of old illuminated manuscripts. No effort was too tedious to discourage beauty in the most common of locations!

Crane, Jack

Jack appears to descend an Arts and Crafts wallpaper beanstalk.

Walter Cranes beloved “Lion and Dove”wallpaper panel is still available today through Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wallpapers.

Crane, Bradbury

Aubrey Beardsley, 1872-1898


April A to Z Blogging Theme:  Picture this! Traditional Fairy Tale Illustrators


Ali Baba, Victoria and Albert Museum

“I am nothing if not grotesque,” Beardsley said. True for his era, perhaps, but even his erotic drawings of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata would hardly stir up a scandal today.

In a mere six-year career before his untimely death, Art Nouveau artist Beardsley achieved a level of artistry in pen and ink illustration. Inspired by Japanese shunga prints and the posters of Toulous-Lautrec, he is best known for works of legend (Tannhauser, Morte d’ Artur), contemporary literature (Oscar Wilde’s Salome), and magazine art for The Savoy, (which he co-founded), but hidden in his portfolio are some irresistible fairy tale drawings, too.


The Slippers of Cinderella, 1894


Le Morte d’ Arthur, 1893-1894







Eleanore Plaisted Abbott, 1875-1935


April A to Z Blogging Theme:  Picture this! Traditional Fairy Tale Illustrators

Abbott, Shoes

Elinore Abbott, “The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces,” Grimms Fairy Tales, 1920.

A feminist and contributor to the Golden Era of American Illustration, Elinore Abbott studied at the School of Design for Women, the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the Académie des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and Howard Pyle’s Drexel Institute. Affluent and educated, a “New Woman” as defined by Henry James’ novel Daisy Miller, she and her artist husband each worked from their own studio in their Rose Valley, PA, home. Besides Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Abbott illustrated editions of Hawthorne’s Tanglewood Tales, Stevenson’s Kidnapped and Treasure Island, and Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe along with features in Scribner’s, Harper’s and The Saturday Evening Post.

Abbott, Two Brothers

Elinore Abbott, “Two Brothers,” The Wild Swans and Other Stories, 1922.


Elinore Abbott, “The Two Kings’ Children,” Grimms’ Fairy Tales, 1920.


Ready, Set, Read!


photoI’m Storyteller Mary Grace Ketner, and I have plenty of active adventures for your Summer Reading Club!

Run a marathon with me through 398.2 ! We’ll tackle stories of courage and skill and cleverness, winning traits admired by folks long ago and far away as much as here and now.

Yes! Traditional folk tales and fairy tales from fascinating cultures all around the world plot their hero’s journey through these shelves. Let me spin your young patrons some stories to give them courage and confidence and remind us all that our world is composed of diverse human beings who can all be winners.

“The next day my 398.2’s were just flying off the shelves!”–Dawn Burbach, Librarian, Harlingen TX CISD


What are your story programs like?

My sessions consist of folktales, fairy tales and legends shared aloud in the oral tradition. Click on an age range in the menu above to view sample story programs for each age group.

How much do your programs cost?

My fees for summer reading programs in Bexar County and south Texas are here, and I’ll be glad to give you a quote if your library is elsewhere. I’ve posted rates that save you money if  you share my trip with a nearby library.

tca_horizontal_blue_tagI am on the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Artist Roster so funding is available to cover up to half of the cost. Read about TCA’s Arts Respond Performance Support Grants.

The grant application deadline for summer performances occurring June 14 or earlier is February 1. The deadline for programs presented June 15 – August 31 is May 1.

MAAA-logo-colorI am also on the Mid-America Arts Alliance Artist Registry; libraries in Arkansas,Kansas, Oklahoma or Nebraska may read about M-AAA grant information  here.

So, what do I do next?

Just let me know!  I’ll answer any questions you may have, and we can set a date!

Write me at mgk at or call me at 210-887-0628.

Read more about me at or enjoy The Fairy Tale Lobby, a fairy tale interest blog which Megan Hicks and I write together.

2016 Collaborative Summer Library Program Themes are:

For children: Ready, Set, Read!

For Teens: Get in the Game: Read

For Adults: Exercise Your Mind: Read

Learn more about CSLP here or watch some recorded activity ideas from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission here.


Y is for Young Listeners

 Illustration by L. Leslie Brooke, Frederick Warne & Co. 1904.

Illustration by L. Leslie Brooke, Frederick Warne & Co. 1904.




For the youngest listeners there is a special genre called Nursery Tales. Not Mother Goose rhymes, not fingerplays, but fully story, these tales amuse, frighten or satisfy tots and stimulate cognitive play in ways that are quite visible and exciting to the storyteller. Classics for two- and three-year olds are “Three Little Pigs,” “Goldilocks,” “The Gunniwolf,” “Little Red Hen,” “Gingerbread Man,” “Three Billy Goats Gruff,” and others.

Unlike nursery rhymes and fingerplays, which are important and wonderful, Nursery Tales lay the groundwork for the concept of story, and—preaching to the choir, here!—story is what makes us human.

One of these will be “just right!”: a wonderful small collection with a CD, a collection by one of America’s favorite illustrators, and a worldwide collection.

Lupton, Hugh, The Story Tree: Tales to Read Aloud, illustrated by Sophie Fatus. (Includes CD of the tales told by Hugh Lupton.) Barefoot Books 2009.

Scarry, Richard, Richard Scarry’s Best Nursery Tales Ever. Golden Books 2014.

Sierra, Judy, Nursery Tales Around the World, Illustrated by Stefano Vitale. Clarion, 1996.

U is for Ugly Duckling

Illustration by T. van Hoytema. Amsterdam, 1893

Illustration by T. van Hoytema. Amsterdam, 1893


The Ugly Duckling may be the most imitated literary folktale on earth! How many children’s books tell of an ugly or clumsy outcast finding his or her reward at last, becoming loved, appreciated, even envied? The short-necked giraffe, the swallow who couldn’t fly, the too-fast turtle, . . . all will surely blossom and find their place in the world, and those who judged them early may be shamed–which Andersen did not deign to do.

Without the consummate writing skills of a prose master such as Andersen, most fall by the wayside. But, never fear! More are on the way!

Beautify your shelves with the Ugly Duckling!

Andersen, Hans Christian, The Ugly Duckling, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. Scholastic, 2000.

Andersen, Hans Christian, El Patito Feo, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. Scholastic, Rayo, 2007.

Andersen, Hans Christian, The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, translated and with an introduction by Maria Tatar, with contributing text by Julie Allen. W.W. Norton & Company, 2007.

S is for Scheherazade

"Scheherazade went on with her story" by Virginia Frances Sterrett. The Arabian Nights, Penn Publishing Company, 1928.

“Scheherazade went on with her story” by Virginia Frances Sterrett from The Arabian Nights, Penn Publishing Company, 1928.




When I first visited a mosque, I suddenly understood Scheherazade—how she had to save not just herself and Dunyazad, but all the women.

Stepping into the women’s room, awkward and barefoot, I felt instantly, abundantly, embraced, as though I’d been longed for and had arrived! The women caressed me, subsumed me, spoke to me in Farsi with desperate affection, re-wrapped my scarf properly, showed me, cued me, clued me, guided my arms, moved my hands, touched hips as we prostrated ourselves to pray.

Aha! This joyous room of women was part of – the heart of – Scheherazade’s own being.

Embrace these volumes of Scheherazade’s magic: a new translation, a student volume, and a “sequel” for puzzle lovers.


The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights: Volumes 1, 2 & 3 (Penguin Classics), translated by Malcolm Lyons and Ursula Lyons, with an introduction by Robert Irwin.  Penguin, 2010.

McCaughrean, Geraldine, One Thousand and One Arabian Nights (Oxford Story Collections) illustrated by Rosamund Fowler. Oxford University Press, USA, 2000.

Smullyan, Raymond M., The Riddle of Scheherazade: And Other Amazing Puzzles, Ancient and Modern. Knopf, 2012.nightscd



And now you know where the cover art for my Storytelling World Honors Award-winning CD came from!