First Published 1954(?) by Collins

Illustrated by Sheila Rose

A short story set in the New Forest.

Charles and Mary are staying with Aunt Alice while their parents are abroad.
One day in the forest Mary is bemoaning their sad lot when they become aware of something stirring in the wood. . .

Sheila Rose illustration. Click to enlarge
One of Sheila Rose's illustrations
from the first edition
First edition:

Collins Children's Annual. Click to enlarge
Collins Children's Annual
containing 'A Sort of Miracle'
cover artwork not credited

The first appearance I know of is in this Collins Children's Annual. The book is not dated, but my copy bears the inscription 'Xmas 1954' - so it seems reasonable to assume that it was in print then.
The story appears between pages 31 and 40 and has six black and white line illustrations by Sheila Rose, one shown above, and a full page colour plate, shown below. The artwork is not signed, but she is named as illustrator on the Contents page.
The book is the 'normal' annual size for this period - 10 by 8 inches - a little 'shorter' than A4. There are 128 pages and, in addition, 5 colour plates.
The artwork shown is only on the front board, the back card being plain blue. The dustwrapper has the same design on the front; its front flap carries the purchase price of 6/-net.

[Info: The first story in this annual is The Rescue by Edward Boyd.]

Other Editions:

The Children's Press

The Children's Press was part of Collins publishers. From the late 1940s they produced cheap editions of the books of dozens of popular and classic authors. In some ways these were the fore-runner of the paperback. Their target purchasers were adults wishing to find a cheaper book as a gift and children buying books for themselves.
In the mid-1950s Monica Edwards' first book Wish For a Pony was issued as a Children's Press edition, on sale for 2/6d; a third of its original price, staying in print for almost another twenty years.

However they did not only produce novels.
They also published many collections in annual format, under a confusing variety of names.
These consisted of articles, puzzles and stories, many of which had previously been published in the pricey Collins Children's Annuals or the more targeted Girls' Annual and Boy's Annual.

The Children's Own Story Book
The Children's Own Story Book. Click to enlarge
cover of
The Children's Own Story Book
picture courtesy of Julia Smith
I know of two under this title, both bound in thin card with different cover pictures and almost completely different content. The only thing they have in common is that they both contain A Sort of Miracle.

In many of these cheaper reprintings the artists are not credited, but both these list them on the Contents pages. All Sheila Rose's black and white illustrations are there, but neitherhas the colour plate from the Collins Annual.
Neither book carries a publishing date. From the artwork design I guess that the one on the left is the earlier edition. Both books have a repeat of the cover picture on the back card.

[Info: The first story in the left-hand, Leap-frog annual is The Stitch in the Sampler by Mollie Chappell.
The first story in the right-hand
'boat' annual is The Mischievous Mermaid by R. Clough.]

The Children's Own Story Book. Click to enlarge
The Children's Own Story Book
different contents
Which came first ?

The Crackerjack Treasure Book

The Crackerjack Treasure Book
The Crackerjack Treasure Book
Another collection published by The Children's Press. Undated, but almost certainly published in the late 1950s or early 1960s.
It contains A Sort of Miracle on pages 81 to 91 with all the line illustrations by Sheila Rose but the artist is not credited. There is no colour plate.
The book is bound in stiff boards and has a high gloss finish. The same artwork is used on the front and back boards.

[Info: The first story in this annual is Lottie Lea by Ann Lovell.]

A small brown foal stepped out of the bushes . . .

The full colour page illustration by Sheila Rose from Collins Children's Annual.
(Click picture to enlarge)

Sheila Rose's colour illustration. Click to enlarge

This page is part of the Monica Edwards Website. To enter this site by the front door, click here.

Illustrations copyright the respective artists/publishers
Text copyright John Allsup
Created April 2000
updated: July 2002
and - eventually - 13th/14th December 2017