I was in the Bodleian Library shop on Saturday (incidentally, one of the warmest places in Oxford on what was a cold weekend) and I bought a few postcards and bookmarks to give away to two readers.
Since I was visiting Oxford for a C.S. Lewis event, I had to get the appropriate cards, so we'll call this first lot 'the Lewis set' as the cards are facsimiles of the famous Puffin Books covers of three of the Chronicles of Narnia; they date from the 1960s, and the illustrator was Pauline Baynes. I'll pause here to quote briefly from Alister McGrath's biography of Lewis: it was Tolkien who recommended Pauline Baynes to Lewis when his publishers insisted on illustrations for the books, "In the end, Baynes's relationship with Lewis turned out to be rather formal and distant. They appear to have met only twice. One of these two meetings was a highly perfunctory and brief discussion at London's Waterloo Station, during which Lewis frequently consulted his watch, anxious not to miss his train. (Her diary entry for that day was rumoured to read 'Met C.S. Lewis. Came home. Made rock cakes.') It was not an easy relationship, particularly when Baynes learned that Lewis, having been very positive about her illustrations to her face, was somewhat more critical of her artistic gifts behind her back - especially her ability to draw lions."
Along with the cards, I'll give you two bookmarks which picture beautiful books from the Bodleian collection; the first is The Christmas Bookshelf, which features unusual 19th. and 20th. century titles, and the second is Flowers, early 20th. century books from the classification 'Natural Sciences, Botany, General: Flowers & their culture'.
The next lot, 'the Oxford set' comprises the Hobbies bookshelf card and matching bookmark, a map of Lyra's Oxford taken from the book of that name by Philip Pullman, illustrated by John Lawrence, a card of the Bodleian oath, the declaration every reader is required to repeat aloud on seeking admission, and a bookmark showing a selection of Victorian children's books from the Opie collection.
To enter the draw - which is open to all, no matter where in the world you are - please leave a comment on this post naming a favourite children's book of yours, and please state whether you would prefer the Lewis set or the Oxford set or are happy with either. Incidentally, if you have any trouble leaving a comment (I've had reports of intermittent difficulties), please email me using the link in the right-hand sidebar, let me know what error message, if any, you got, and give me the name of your favourite book and your preferred prize and I'll make sure you are entered in the draw.