Working name of UK poet, writer and anthologist John Morris Reeves (1909-1978), brother of Joyce Gard, intensely prolific from the mid-1930s, when he began publishing anthologies like The Modern Poet's World (anth 1935; rev vt Poet's World 1948), some of which – like the massive The Golden Land: Stories, Poems, Songs New and Old (anth 1958) – were assembled for children. His copious verse began with The Natural Need (coll 1936); some of this poetry, like The Wandering Moon (coll 1950), was for children.
His prose for children can be divided into two categories. There are original stories like Pigeons and Princesses (1956) illus Edward Ardizzone and The Strange Light (1964), in which a young girl discovers a fragile Polder inhabited by characters awaiting the chance to enter a Book. When an author conceives of them, they begin to shine; but if they are never imagined they fade, like J M Barrie's Tinkerbell. And there are many volumes of Twice-Told tales, beginning with English Fables and Fairy Stories, Retold (coll 1954) and The Exploits of Don Quixote, Retold (1959) illus Ardizzone. JR is a quiet writer, but through the transparency of his style can be detected a sense of the constant wonderfulness within things and stories. [JC]
For children: Mulcaster Market: Three Plays for Young People (coll 1951); The King who Took Sunshine (1954), play; Mulbridge Manor (1958); Titus in Trouble (1959) illus Ardizzone; Sailor Rumbelow and Britannia (1962) illus Ardizzone; The Pillar-Box Thieves (1965); Rhyming Will (1967) illus Ardizzone; Mr Horrox and the Gratch (1969) illus Quentin Blake; The Path of Gold (1972); The Lion that Flew (1974) illus Ardizzone; Clever Mouse (1976); Eggtime Stories (coll 1978); The James Reeves Storybook (coll 1978) illus Ardizzone; A Prince in Danger (1979).
Twice-told tales: Fables from Aesop, Retold (coll 1961); Three Tales, Chosen from Traditional Sources (coll 1965) illus Ardizzone; The Road to a Kingdom: Stories from the Old and New Testaments (coll 1965) illus Richard Kennedy; The Secret Shoemakers and Other Stories (coll 1966) illus Ardizzone; The Cold Flame, Based on a Tale from the Collection of the Brothers Grimm (1967) illus Charles Keeping; The Trojan Horse (1968); Heroes and Monsters: Legends of Ancient Greece Retold (coll 1969/1971 2 vols); The Angel and the Donkey (1969) illus Ardizzone; Maildun the Voyager (1971); How the Moon Began (1971) illus Ardizzone; The Forbidden Forest and Other Stories (coll 1973) illus Raymond Briggs; The Voyage of Odysseus: Homer's Odyssey Retold (1973); Two Greedy Bears (1974); Quest and Conquest: Pilgrim's Progress Retold (1976); Snow-White and Rose Red (1979).
Anthologies (selective): The Merry-Go-Round: A Collection of Rhymes and Poems for Children (anth 1955); The Christmas Book (anth 1968) illus Briggs; The Springtime Book: A Collection of Prose and Poetry (anth 1976); The Autumn Book: A Collection of Prose and Poetry (anth 1977).
John Morris Reeves