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The beloved Quaker boy from Nantucket . . .

Restored image of Obadiah from Thy Friend, Obadiah. Earlier deterioration at right.

Dear Readers,
I’ve been happily working on a delightful project for the past six weeks to restore the Obadiah books to their original beauty. I’ve loved the Obadiah books since I had little ones in the house, and still have my original copies from 30 years ago, (when the hardbacks were only $3.95!). You may recognize the titles of Rachel and Obadiah and Obadiah the Bold as Beautiful Feet Books has had the privilege of publishing these for a number of years. But a few years ago, it was brought to our attention that the Turkle heirs were becoming concerned about the quality of their father’s works. This is due to the fact that often, with every subsequent printing, the further the edition gets from the original, the greater the deterioration. Serendipitously, the Turkle heirs, in conjunction with the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Books, did an exhibit of Brinton Turkle’s work, and it was discovered that for three of the books—the two aforementioned and

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Restored version of Obadiah the Bold harbor scene. Below, see the deteriorated version.

Thy Friend, Obadiah that the majority of the original watercolors were available.  Since I had an ongoing relationship with the director of the Eric Carle Museum, I suggested to her that Beautiful Feet Books reissue the Obadiah series using these original watercolors.  While this is a labor-intensive project, it is just the sort of thing I love to do. In restoring the original beauty, integrity, and clarity of the artist’s work, I feel I have a small part in keeping a bit of history, literature, and art alive for another generation! So, you will see here some examples of the current state of the art with the beauty we have been able to restore.

Finally, I’ll close with a quote from Brinton Turkle that resonates beautifully with the vision I have for children’s literature and the goal we strive for at Beautiful Feet Books.

In writing, I use all sorts of tricks to capture the attention of my young audience: suspense, humor and even charm, when I can muster it. But no matter how successfully I may entertain, I am really up to something else: subversion. My abilities are implacably lined up against the hypocrisy, materialism, and brutality that so pervade our society. As my readers leave childhood behind, I hope that they will carry with them an appreciation for such alternatives as integrity, mutual respect, kindness and reverence for life. These alternatives are in my books, and I pray that exposure to them will play a part in the construction of a better tomorrow.

Brinton had loaned this dining room scene from Obadiah the Bold to a library where it was hung for visitors to enjoy. Sadly, given the exposure to light over time, the beautiful sea and sky faded completely. See the restored version below.
In this scene, Obadiah announces he will be a pirate when he grows up. There is just one difficulty. “Has thee ever heard of a Quaker pirate?” his brother Moses asks.