Gnomes is one of those amazing books I vividly remember spending countless hours pouring over as a kid, and I'm still equally transfixed by it today.
Originally published in 1976, this month, Abrams Books re-issued this timeless classic in a special Deluxe Edition in honor of its 35th Anniversary. Just in time for the emergence of garden gnomes.
For those unfamiliar with this book, Gnomes is an encyclopedic tome filled with over 200 pages of gorgeously detailed artwork, illustrating all aspects of gnome culture, customs, and lifestyle, much of it presented in a journal/field guide format, complete with diagrams, hand-written notes and observations.
Learn everything from gnome house building (their chimneys are often connected to a woodpecker's hole, and they employ the aid of a mole in digging tunnels for plumbing), timekeeping (a gnome keeps track of his age through the growth of an acorn planted in the ground on the day of his birth), parenthood (gnomes always give birth to twins, who live with their parents until they are 100 years old), and dress (a gnome without a cap is not a gnome, he would rather be without pants than without his cap).
There are some brief mentions of more menacing creatures, such as trolls and goblins, and the end of the book includes several fairy tales involving gnomes, along with eight removable art prints.
All of this aside, Gnomes is a magical book for sparking kid's imaginations about the unseen happenings in nature and encouraging them to think more deeply about our relationship with our environment and the other creatures we share it with. We've found it to be a great inspiration on nature walks, keeping our eyes peeled for signs and evidence of possible gnome habitation in our neighborhood.