Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Illustrations of Eloise Burns Wilkin

I adore the art of Eloise Burns Wilkin. Her illustrations of children with their chubby little cheeks appear to see life around them with the innocence of youth and wide-eyed wonder.It's as if they are seeing everything for the very first time.

Ms. Wilkin was born on March 30, 1904 in Rochester, NY. She graduated from the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (now The Rochester Institute of Technology) in 1923. Soon after graduating she and her friend, Joan Esley, moved to NYC to try and find work. Not long after, Century Company gave Eloise her first book to illustrate, The Shining Hours. Her earliest jobs were illustrating school books and paper dolls.

Eloise's sister, Esther Burns Wilkin (who married Eloise's brother-in-law) collaborated on a number of works. Esther wrote, and Eloise illustrated. Their first collaboration was Mrs. Peregrine and the Yak.

In 1944, Eloise signed an exclusive contract with the original Little Golden Books publisher Simon and Schuster which required her to illustrate three books each year. It is her work for Golden Books that she is best known. She often used her children, grandchildren, and their friends as models for her illustrations. And as a devout Christian, she frequently illustrated religious picture books.

Wilkin won several awards for her writings and illustrations including the Ewald Eisenhardt Memorial Merit Award for excellence in printmaking for her lithograph "Lilybet."

Two books which she illustrated, The Boy with a Drum (1971) by David L. Harrison and I Hear: Sounds in a Child's World (1971) by Lucille Ogle and Tina Thoburn, were each named Children's Book of the Year by the Child Study Association of America.

She also received honorable mention in 1940 from The New York Times Book Review for her illustrations for A Good House for a Mouse written by Irmengarde Eberle, 1940, and in 1950 for The Tune is in the Tree written by Maud Hart Lovelace.


In 1960, Eloise added doll designer to her resume. She designed eight dolls in all for Vogue Dolls, Inc. and Madame Alexander. The Little Golden Books, Baby Dear and So Big, both written by Esther Wilkin and illustrated by Eloise Wilkin, feature the Eloise Wilkin dolls.


Eloise Wilkin died October 4, 1987 from cancer, but is still one of the most collectible Golden Book illustrators.


Eloise Wilkin bibliography:

I've pinned the cover images on Pinterest.

Little Golden Books 

The New House in the Forest by Lucy Sprague Mitchell, 1946 (LGB #24)
Fix it, Please by Lucy Sprague Mitchell, 1947. (LGB #32)
Noises and Mr. Flibberty-Jib by Eloise Wilkin, 1947. (LGB #29)
Busy Timmy by Kathryn and Byron Jackson, 1948. (LGB #50; #452)
Come Play House by Edith Oswald, 1948 (LGB #44)
Good Morning, Good Night by Jane Werner, 1948 (LGB #61)
The New Baby by Ruth and Harold Shane, 1948 (LGB #41; #291; #541; #306-68)
Guess Who Lives Here by Louise Woodcock, 1949 (LGB #60)
A Day at the Playground by Miram Schlein, 1951 (LGB #119)
Little Golden Book of Holidays by Marion Conger, 1951 (LGB #109)
The Christmas Story by Jane Werner, 1952 (LGB #158)
Prayers for Children by Eloise Wilkin, 1952 (LGB #5; #205; #301-10; #301-93)
My Teddy Bear by Patricia Scarry, 1953 (LGB #168; #448)
Wiggles by Louise Woodcock, 1953 (LGB #166)
First Bible Stories by Jane Werner, 1954 (LGB #198)
Georgie Finds a Grandpa by Miriam Young, 1954 (LGB #196)
Hansel and Gretel by Brothers Grimm, 1954 (LGB #217; #491; #207-51; #207-65)
Hi Ho! Three in a Row by Louise Woodcock, 1954 (LGB #188)
Linda and Her Little Sister by Esther Wilkin, 1954 (LGB #214)
My Kitten by Patricia Scarry, 1954 (LGB #163; #300; #528)
My Puppy by Patricia Scarry, 1955 (LGB #233; #469)
The Night Before Christmas by Jane Werner Watson, 1955 (LGB #241)
The Twins by Ruth and Harold Shane, 1955 (LGB #227)
My Baby Brother by Patricia Scarry, 1956 (LGB #279)
My Little Golden Book About God by Jane Werner Watson, 1956 (LGB #268)
My Snuggly Bunny by Patsy Scarry, 1956 (LGB #250)
Baby Jesus: Stamp Book by Eloise Wilkin, 1957 (LGB #A12)
A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1957 (LGB #289; #493)
Wonders of Nature by Jane Werner Watson, 1957 (LGB #293)
Kittens: Three Complete Stories by Cathleen Schurr and Patsy Scarry. Illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren and Eloise Wilkin, 1958 (Giant LGB #5013)
Birds by Jane Werner Watson 1958, 1973 (LGB #184; #5011)
Baby's First Christmas by Esther Wilkin, 1959 (LGB #368; #460-08)
My Pets by Patsy Scarry, 1959 (LGB #5027)
This World of Ours by Jane Werner Watson, 1959 (LGB #5026)
We Help Mommy by Jean Cushman, 1959 (LGB #352)
Baby Listens by Esther Wilkin, 1960 (LGB #383)
Baby Looks by Eloise Wilkin, 1960 (LGB #404)
My Dolly and Me by Patricia Scarry, 1960 (LGB #418)
Eloise Wilkin's Mother Goose by Eloise Wilkin, 1961 (LGB #589)
Baby Dear by Esther Wilkin, 1962 (LGB #466)
Christmas ABC by Florence Johnson, 1962 (LGB #478)
We Help Daddy by Mini Stein, 1962 (LGB #468)
Jamie Looks by Adelaide Holl, 1963 (LGB #522)
Good Little Bad Little Girl by Esther Wilkin, 1965 (LGB #562)
We Like Kindergarten by Clara Cassidy, 1965 (LGB #552)
Play With Me by Esther Wilkin, 1967 (LGB #567)
So Big by Eloise Wilkin, 1968 (LGB #574)
Boy With a Drum by David L. Harrison, 1969 (LGB #588)
The Little Book by Sherl Horvath, 1969 (LGB #583)
Baby's Birthday by Patricia Mowers, 1972 (LGB #365)
Where Did the Baby Go? by Sheila Hayes, 1974 (LGB #116)

Other Bibliography

Mrs. Peregrine and the Yak by Esther Burns, 1938 (Henry Holt and Co.)
Mrs. Peregrine at the Fair by Esther Burns Wilkin, 1939 (J. Messner)
A Good House for a Mouse by Irmengarde Eberle, 1940 (J. Messner)
Sheep Wagon Family by Myra Reed Richardson, 1941 (R.M. McBride)
TheGreat Gold Piece Mystery by Elizabeth Honness, 1944 (Oxford University Press)
Kitty Come Down by Frances Atchinson Bacon, 1944 (Oxford University Press)
Rainbow for Me by Martha Gwinn Kiser, 1948 (Random House)
The Make-Believe Parade by Jan Margo, 1949 (Wonder Books #520)
Seatmates by Mary K. Reely, 1949 (Franklin Watts)
Busy ABC by Eloise Wilkin, 1950 (Whitman)
The Lord's Prayer commentary by Esther Wilkin, 1961 (Golden Press)
The Thank You Book by Patricia Martin Zens 1967 (Golden Press)
Song of Praise by Eloise Wilkin, 1970 (American Heritage Press)
I Hear: Sounds in a Child's World by Lucille Ogle and Tina Thoburn, 1971 (American Heritage Press)
The Golden Treasury of Prayers for Boys and Girls edited by Esther Wilkin, 1975 (Golden Press)
The Once-Upon-a-Time Scratch and Sniff Book: Stories adapted by Ruthanna Long, 1978 (Golden Press)
Ladybug, Ladybug, and Other Nursery Rhymes by Eloise Wilkin, 1979 (Random House)
Nursery Rhymes by Eloise Wilkin, 1979 (Random House)
Little Prayers edited by Esther Wilkin, 1980 (Golden Press)
My Goodnight Book by Eloise Wilkin, 1981 (Golden Press)
Rock-a-Bye, Baby: Nursery Songs and Cradle Games by Eloise Wilkin, 1981 (Random House)
My Good Morning Book by Eloise Wilkin, 1983 (Golden Press)
Prayers for a Small Child by Eloise Wilkin, 1984 (Random House)
Eloise Wilkin Treasury: Favorite Nursery Rhymes, Prayers, Poems, and Stories edited by Linda C. Falkan, 1985 (Golden Books)
How Many Kisses Good Night by Jean Monrad, 1986 (Random House)
Eloise Wilkin's Book of Poems by Deborah Wilkin Springett, 1988 (Western Publishing Co.)

Happy reading,


  1. Some of these illustrations are very familiar to me, but I never paid attention to who did them. They are great, aren't they?

    1. Hi Alex,
      Thanks so much for stopping by. I LOVE her art, and am glad that you like it too.

  2. I have a 1981 edition of a child’s garden of verses illustrated by Eloise Wilkin in stock. I haven’t really taken any notice of the illustrations before, but I’m going to now. I love the one you show at the top of this post it’s beautiful. Her work reminds me a little of the children done by Mabel Lucie Attwell. Thanks for calling in at my blog earlier today. Barbara.

    1. Hi there Barbara,
      I love the work of Eloise Wilkin. I just looked up Mabel Lucie Attwell, and their work IS very similar. Man, now there's another illustrator I love! Thanks a billion for stopping by.

  3. Some of these pictures take me to the floor of the house I grew up in. Though I could always read, it was the pictures I loved about these books! I'm happy to know the name of the Illustrator now. :D

    1. Thank you very much for taking the time to comment. I'm so glad that my post conjured up some happy memories for you!


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