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Jill’s Illustrators

I had no idea when I started reading the Jill books that a. Black Boy was actually supposed to be black, and b. Jill was not born in the 1960s. This does show just what an impact illustrators make on us. To many, many people, Black Boy will always be a piebald, and that is all down to Bonar Dunlop, whose Black Boy is piebald, and whose illustrations for the first three Jill books were used in all the paperbacks up until the 1990s.


By the time I’d finished the Jill series, I had realised that there were other ways of looking at Jill, as the versions I found included some of the old Armada paperbacks, illustrated by Caney. Caney’s Jill was quite a different creature to Bonar Dunlop’s - much less sophisticated but with a charm all her own (and Knight did actually add to Jill’s sophistication in their publication of Jill’s Riding Club by removing her plaits from the illustrations to give her a smarter, shorter, hairstyle). Jill is much sassier in Caney’s illustrations. There’s a lot of character there, which there perhaps isn’t in Bonar Dunop’s Jill, who is rather more of an indentikit 1960s girl having a holiday adventure.


Elisabeth Grant’s Jill is more of a traditional girl - though very few people will have seen those illustrations as they only graced one edition (the laminated hardbacks of the 1970s) and nothing since.


This section is a work in progress: I haven’t been able to identify some illustrators for some of the Armada 1960s paperbacks, and am still trying to trace Adrian Lascom, Jill’s most recent illustrator.