This little gem of a book arrived in the mail from my friend Ro, who lives in Nottingham, England, for my birthday. She restored the cover of this 1885 edition of “THE OWLS OF OLYNN BELFRY: A Tale for Children,” written by A. Y. D. and illustrated by Randolph Caldecott. It cost one shilling when it was published in London by Field & Tuer, The Leadenhall Press, E. C. What a remarkable book! Randolph’s exquisite illustrations include pictures of owls sleeping in the belfry, an ornithologist, children at a circus, owls attacking robbers, “aged inhabitants in the church tower,” baby owls, and an owl performing a minuet with a fairy.
From page three: “Even now two very young creatures, named Bunting and Snunting, are sitting in a hollow of the woodwork in the belfry. They are covered with soft white down, and are sometimes snoring in a curious manner…”