A Life in Children's Books
Lothian, $39.95 pb, 226 pp
The Lu Rees Archives of Australian Children’s literature is a collection of children’s books and manuscripts whose stated purpose is to ‘provide resources for the study and research of Australian authors and illustrators, including both the literature and the historical and cultural context in which it was created’. Officially owned by the Children’s Book Council of Australia, and housed in the University of Canberra’s library, the collection of about fourteen thousand items provides a ‘particularly rich and comprehensive overview of Australian children’s literature, its creation and publishing endeavour’. Lu Rees, a foundation member of CBCA, started the collection with her own substantial holdings, and the collection encourages donations. Walter McVitty has made a gift of more than 3000 books and the entire archive of his publishing company, Walter McVitty Books, which existed from 1985 to 1997. In order to aid future researchers who might find the vast array of material in that archive bewildering, McVitty wrote explanatory notes of about twenty thousand words. He has expanded these into this book, which Lothian (the company that bought his imprint) has published.