November 10th, 2010

reading

So Much to Tell: Kaye Webb by Valerie Grove



There can’t be many reading families in the country without a few Puffin books about the house. Started by Allen Lane in 1940 with the first Puffin Picture Books, they are still going strong; at this moment there are over 11,000 listed for sale on eBay. Postcards from Puffin, a box of postcards of one hundred Puffin covers, is bound to be a popular Christmas present this year. Eleanor Graham was the first editor of Puffin Story Books but the name most associated with them is still that of Kaye Webb.



Kaye Webb’s father Arthur was a respected journalist and her mother a glamorous, dominant figure. Her parents lived apart, Arthur in America, Ann in England. Kaye remained close to both and to her younger brother John (killed in the war) and older half-brother Bill. She was not well educated, something she regretted all her life, but it never impeded her career. During the war she worked for Lilliput , where she first showed her great ability to cajole people into doing what she wanted them to. As part of this job she met many celebrities including Walter de la Mare, James Mason and Robert Graves, who became lifelong friends. She knew how lucky she was and later described herself as ‘a war profiteer’.
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