So, I have been trying a couple of times to find the name of a book from my childhood by googling to the best of my ability, so far without success. I remember being fascinated by the pictures of the book; unfortunately I cannot recall much of the plot at all. I was hoping that someone might have some ideas from the following list of "hints"/recollections:

  • I read the book in question in the school library when I was in elementary school in the late 1990's-early 2000's in Sweden (the book was not brand new, probably one or two decades old at that point)
  • The author was not Swedish. Perhaps Polish, perhaps from Eastern Europe. But definitely European
  • It was a book for children; not very young children though, as I remember the story as quite weird but with a serious tone (i.e. little or no humour)
  • Lots of pictures, filling up whole pages, with just some text on each page
  • The style of the pictures in the book was like fine art, like oil paintings in a renaissance/medieval style. Very detailed and realistic, which gives the feeling it was not intended for the youngest children
  • It was some sort of fairy tale with fantasy elements, in a medieval setting. I recall a green human-sized lizard, with a long neck, like a camel, and with wrinkly pouches of skin hanging under its throat, somewhat like a turkey. This creature was dressed in human clothes, perhaps a purple robe. I also recall a woman (princess?) with a really long (~1-2 meters) hat, looking like those ancient shelled octopuses (Endoceras)
  • There were both "indoor scenes", I seem to recall some kind of a laboratory with checkerboard-tiled floor and old architecture with arcs and pillars, as well as landscape imagery, I especially remember that the trees and their branches were very rich in detail
  • The book was hard-cover, A4-size; not that thick, perhaps 50 pages
  • I seem to remember that another book by the same author/artist in the library had a cocker-spaniel on its front cover (the name "Katinka" comes to mind, but it might be a false memory...)
  • The book was not a fable, in the sense that not all characters were animals behaving like humans. The lizard-humanoid described above was an exception. I recall most characters were human.

That is all I can remember, I hope someone can help me solve this mystery, as I would like to be able to see the pictures once more :D

  • 2
    Hi, welcome to SF&F! Looks like you've got a lot of details here, but you should still check out the guide in case there is more information you can edit into your question. For example, was it a normal hardcover size, or a large-format book?
    – DavidW
    May 10, 2019 at 20:48
  • Do you remember anything of the plot?
    – FuzzyBoots
    May 10, 2019 at 20:48
  • @FuzzyBoots Unfortunately not much at all... I was mostly fascinated with the pictures at the time of reading it :) May 10, 2019 at 21:04

1 Answer 1


In the realm of picture books, Graeme Base has done some fine work: his Animalia might fit your description. He's Australian, I believe (you can tell, if you examine the electric sockets in his domestic scenes).

  • Thanks for your suggestion, but this is not the author I was looking for. Graeme Bases pictures look more like watercolour rather than the oil paintings from the book I described. May 12, 2019 at 18:42

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