I notice things in the background. Almost to a fault. Whether it is the music playing on a commercial on the television, the music behind the big story on NPR, or perhaps a random stack of books on some shelf in an advertisement in print- which by the way, has absolutely nothing to do with said advertisement. I must have been the only person on the planet not to have heard of the Observers Books. When I saw their colorful little spines all lined up in row in some one's vacation home that was being photographed, I was smitten. I read the entire piece, but I cannot tell you whose house it was, or even what country it was in. What I can tell you is that I ran to my computer moments later hunting down these little delights of bound paper. I had no idea what they were about, or the madness they have brought upon collectors of the series. I found my set of nine for a song. They included one on Trees, one on Horses, and one on Pond Life- what was there not to love? When they arrived, the first thing I did was take off the dust jackets. Worn and tattered anyway, I liked how the colorful spines looked, and I wasn't keeping these for their value. I had visions of the children coming in one day from school years down the road and fretting over what to do for a science project. The Pond Life book could provide just the right starting point. There is something infinitely rewarding about such a small book packed with so much information. The people at Frederick Warne were of such a genius mind. After all, years before they had brought us the Beatrix Potter's tales in much the same format- beautifully colored and small enough to fit in your pocket.
The picture plates in these books are so pretty. I was astounded recently when I found out that there are one hundred books in the series, and over four hundred variations! Stella books in the United Kingdom is known for their expertise in the collection and offer a large number for sale at any given time. I can see where this collection could be addicting. Already my little collection has come in handy when I have forgotten the names of algae growing here on our ponds, and I have used the book on Fungi to identify blooms on our property. I am on the lookout for the Bird and Flower books next, both subjects I cannot learn enough about.
In the years to come I expect that Wren will gravitate to the book on Horses, and Dane to the book on Dogs. Both have wonderful illustrations and every species imaginable. Even our Perry dog is properly depicted under Vizsla. I learned a thing or two about him from reading up on his breed, like the fact that he may always be loaded with energy- no matter how much I dream for him to be a calm fireside dog. It may just not be in his cards. Getting back to my original point is that I'm grateful that there are wonderful things in the details. So much of what I love and admire has come to me because it was quietly lurking in plain view- or earshot. It is the advertiser's goal that what they put together make an impression on you. It's just that sometimes the impression you get is more than they intended.