Sorting out books after my hols I came across a copy of Letters to Klaus from the children’s publisher Anderson Press, published as part of the Independent Booksellers Week promotion which began last Friday. It’s brilliant and entirely original.
Klaus Flugge launched Anderson Press in 1976, naming it after Hans Christian Anderson, and went on to publish many books from authors such as Ruth Brown, Michael Foreman and Melvin Burgess. Perhaps the most familiar Anderson Press character is David McKee’s Elmer the Patchwork Elephant and it was McKee who started off ‘envelope art’, beautifully illustrated envelopes addressed to Klaus at his various London addresses ending up at Vauxhall Bridge Road, Anderson’s Random House home. Several of Anderson Press’s illustrators followed suit giving London posties a good deal of entertainment and perhaps a little consternation over the years. Letters to Klaus is a collection of 200 pieces of colourful, funny envelope art, including a sprinkling from the likes of Ralph Steadman, Posy Simmonds and Axel Scheffler. It’s what’s known in retail as a twofa, or even a threefa: an excellent book sold only at independent bookshops – who I’m sure pay their taxes – the proceeds of which will be donated to Save the Children. What’s not to like?