I was asked this week if it is normal for adult books to have pictures and although I could think of a few notable exceptions I had to admit that it is very rare indeed for adult fiction to come illustrated. The reason for this is, of course, that adults are happier using their imaginations to fill in the gaps created by the words on the page but it still feels as though there is a small loss in making our creative works so bound by language. This copy of The Water Babies, illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith, is a perfect example of how enriching pictures in a book can be. In addition to the beautiful colour plates and the gilt cover there are small line drawings on almost every page which just nudge the visual reality of the story into the reader’s mind. The subtitle of this work is ‘A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby’ and you can see immediately from the pictures how mythical it is.