The Fairy Circus (1931)
Illustrated by Dorothy Lathrop
To the left, we show a copy of The Fairy Circus, as
written and illustrated by Dorothy Lathrop - published
by The MacMillan Company (New York) in 1931.
This example retains the original decoratively gold-
and black-stamped orange cloth cover.
On the right, we show the decorated
Title Page to The Fairy Circus.
The Fairy Circus (1931) is a wonderful tale of fairy folk written and illustrated by Dorothy Lathrop.
The whimsical tale is brought to life in a brilliant fashion by Lathrop's suite of illustrations that includes gorgeous
examples in colour and numerous stunning images in monotone. Her suite of images was so significant that it
received The Newbery Honor - a citation conferred by the American Library Association.
Our Greeting Cards and Reproduction Prints
We have prepared sets of 8 Greeting Cards displaying each of Lathrop's colour images for The Fairy Circus and on the left, we show an example of how these Greeting Cards appear. Ordering one of those sets is as easy as selecting the "Add to Cart" feature below and following the prompts provided with our Shopping Cart secured through PayPal. Multiple purchases will be consolidated by that feature and shipping and handling costs to any destination in the world are accommodated
by our flat-rate fee of US$20 for every US$200 worth of purchases.
Similarly, we have prepared sets of 12 Greeting Cards displaying each of Lathrop's major monotone images for The Fairy Circus and on the right, we show an example of how these Greeting Cards appear. Again, ordering one of those sets is as easy as selecting the "Add to Cart" feature below and following the prompts provided with our Shopping Cart secured through PayPal.
When presented on Greeting Cards, these images are prepared as tipped-in plates - in homage to the hand-crafted
approach typical of prestige illustrated publications produced in the early decades of the 20th Century.
Hand-finishing is used to replicate the visual appearance of a tipped-in plate and the images are presented on
Ivory card stock (in the case of colour illustrations) or White card stock (in the case of monotone illustrations)
with an accompanying envelope. We have left the cards blank so that you may write your own personal
Should you wish to order a Reproduction Print or an individual Greeting Card from this suite of images, simply
click on the illustration and you will be taken to a new screen where you may select from a variety of sizing
options and organise payment through our Shopping Cart secured with PayPal. Of course, should you require a customised
preparation, we welcome your contact through ThePeople@SpiritoftheAges.com.
In the meantime, enjoy perusing these wonderful images from Dorothy Lathrop.
The colour illustrations
The Fairy Circus
They balanced berries and cherries on their noses
and played ball with the fairy without half trying.
They stood on their back legs, and they stood on
their front legs, and they stood on one leg at
a time with their tails way over their heads.
The chipmunks looked pleased and sat up very
straight. "Watch this fearless fairy, armed only
with a fragile stick, bend their furious wrath at
his will." They frisked down from their perches.
They didn't wait to be prodded. They ripped up
the mushroom steps one right after the other,
and hurled themselves through the forked stick
at the top.
Their cheers rose like shrill fluting. Then, in a
scramble that was more pandemonium that
parade, they fell into line and slowly marched
forward. The fireflies lit up their way. First came
the trumpeting heralds on mice who stepped high,
proudly curving their necks.
Then, in the wake of the trumpets' pealings, with
crimson trappings swaying, plodded the turtles.
The fairies who rode on each great head were ever
so gently rocked up and down - up, till they looked
down on the flowers, and down again past the
leaves. Though the turtles walked two abreast,
they made a line longer than could be measured
by an cat tail stalk. And each turtle held on with
his mouth to the tail of the turtle in front of him.
She stepped out on a thread almost invisible.
She danced, twirled, and pirouetted, all, it
seemed on empty air. The evening primroses
The first frog leaped with his rider, shot downward
and dived under the alien water before the fairies
had loosed their held breaths. The second one
jumped, and the third, also.
The animals all crowded closer. They wanted most
dreadful to play some more. But day was breaking
at last. And the fairies flew away.
The major monotone illustrations
They could hardly wait for the fairies to build the
cages of pine twigs before they dashed behind the
bars, where they showed their teeth and growled
fiercely. For squirrels can growl. And, when some
of them had made themselves lion manes by
wrapping their tails around their necks as they
would go, no one could ask for better lions.
That band! What a queer noise it made! Have you
ever blown through dandelion stems? Then you
know how the smallest horns sounded. But with
trumpet flowers and virginia cowslips and flowers
from the coral honeysuckle vine, you can never
guess what a strange high piping and a tooting
shrill and low came from the rest of the band.
They stood on round apples that rolled, a much more
difficult feat for them than it is for an elephant to
crowd all four feet on a ball. An elephant can hump
his back until his stomach wrinkles and his feet are
bunched close together. But the turtles' shells
wouldn't bend in the middle; they wouldn't bend
They balanced on toadstools, and if these hadn't
been very new, spring up right there for the
purpose, they never would have stood the strain.
One didn't, but that was their Jumbo's - and
thirty ounces! Under that any toadstool would
In their radiance, the fairies' bodies flashed palely
translucent, as they swung in long curves, as they
twirled and somersaulted, all with their wings
tightly folded. It wouldn't have been fair to use
wings when mortals have none.
Here mice, wearing bridles, were cantering about,
shaking their heads and curving their tails into
sickles. These were not such mice as we know,
little and gray all over and timid - though a house
hostile with cats and traps would make any mouse
timid. These were wood mice with great eyes and
friendly, gentle manners, and with fur underneath
as white as the gills of a toadstool.
At our least touch these frail globes shatter. They
tossed them up, caught them, and flung them
spinning above their heads until the air was filled
with floating, whirling balls more fragile than
glass. Not one fell to the moss. Two floated away
and had to be flown for. But not one was marred
by the fairies' light fingers. Never was they such
The first mole up, the fairies pushed and down he
slid backwards, and landed all higglety-pigglety.
He picked himself up and wiggled himself all over
carefully. He was still perfectly whole. The next
one landed with is legs in the air. He loved it!
They all did! It was just like home. There they had
chutes of hard-packed earth wherever their tunnels
dipped suddenly, but none so slippery smooth,
none down which they could shoot like lightning.
Have you ever felt sorry for the lions in the circus,
and thought that, if you were a lion or a tiger, you
would eat the trainer right up? Perhaps the squirrels,
too, were sorry for them - or perhaps they were only
playing. But one squirrel crept up behind the fairy,
while the ones on the toadstools switched their tails
and got their hind legs ready to spring. Then all
together, with terrible growls, they lunged at the
fairy. He rocketed upward, right over the bars of
the cage! What would have happened if he hadn't?
All the other fairies, too, took to their wings.
The mouse who had once lived with humans, the
"only genuine white rodent in the woods," was much
in demand. I don't know what all the statues were,
but they had a winged mouse, and his wings were
tied on with a band around his stomach just like the
wings of the horses in the real circus statues. He stood
perfectly still, except that his nose kept wiggling.
Four powerful mice careened into the arena with
two fairies standing astride them, a foot on each.
But they had to save some for the weasels, for
they were waiting too, and remembering to
hump their back like camels. They tried to
look proud and indifferent, but they couldn't
help reaching for more just as eagerly as the
turtles. Some of the more timid fairies were
not quite sure they wanted to trust their
fingers so close to noses so sharply pointed.