343E: Grotesque Picture Book (Solved!)

I read this book in the 1980s. There were large pictures on every page. The art was reminiscent of Arthur Rackham or the 1980s movie "Flight of Dragons." The figures could be quite grotesque with pointy ears, grey skin, or warts. The main character is a young girl. At one point she has to cross a wide canyon or chasm on a very thin or invisible string. I believe there is an ogress, troll, or giant that she outwits. The layout of the book was landscape (not portrait) and the cover had a purple border. Any help you could provide finding this book would be greatly appreciated!

7 thoughts on “343E: Grotesque Picture Book (Solved!)

  1. Sounds like you’re looking for ‘The Princess and the Goblin’ by George McDonald. Originally illustrated by Arthur Hughes but it has had several illustrators including Jessie Wilcox Smith. I couldn’t locate the exact edition you described but I’m pretty sure that’s your story. There’s a very detailed explanation of it on Wikipedia which may help you confirm the story details.

    • Hi, Mellisa. Thanks so much for your response! I love the Princess and the Goblin and know it well. Unfortunately, that is not the book I am looking for. The invisible string is not used to cross a chasm in McDonald’s story but to find a way out of a cave. The book I want was also more of a picture book than a novella. Thanks again for trying.

  2. I think I’ve figured it out!

    Your description made me suspect this was a retelling of ‘Mollie Whuppie’, an English fairy tale in which a girl repeatedly tricks a giant – including running across a chasm on the edge of his enormous sword.

    I know this story only from a version in a British children’s anthology at the chapter-book level, illustrated only lightly (and tamely) in black and white. Definitely not a picture book. I was going to stop there and post this as a possible lead, but I got curious, so I stuck ‘Mollie Whuppie’ as a search term into Google Images and Google Books to see if there were any picture-book adaptations listed. It turns out there have been only two or three. Maybe not all that surprising given that the story has some pretty dark turns!

    One is called ‘Mollie Whuppie and the Giant’, and was illustrated by Robin Muller. This eBay listing from Australia lists the publication date as 1983. The cover shown has a pointy-eared giant and a purple border, and the book looks to be in landscape format. Bingo!


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