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The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast


The audio book of the complete verse from the best selling book,

illustrated by Alan Aldridge,

is available again, in a limited edition.

The compact disc features narration by Judi Dench and Michael Hordern,

with music and vocals by Rod Edwards and Roger Hand.

This is the tale of a summer’s day, deep in the woods of England, when the grasshopper and the butterflies invite all the creatures to a ball and a feast.

From St Michael’s Mount, Windsor, Rye, Salisbury, Tintern Abbey and the far corners of England they come:

‘Was ever there seen such a varied collection of beautiful creatures?’

Setting out in Johnson’s Spinner Trains, Hot Air Balloons, stagecoaches, on wing and on foot; most arrive, but others are waylaid by adventures, as you will discover.

Beneath the Broad Oak Tree, the creatures dance the evening away, feasting and merrymaking until the glow-worm leads the weary guests back to their beds.

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It all began in 1807 when the poet William Roscoe published a book of verse for children entitled:
The Butterfly’s Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast.

Alan Aldridge, the seminal graphic artist who burst upon the art world in the sixties, came across it in a Victorian anthology and set to work designing illustrations inspired by Roscoe’s work.

From this sprang the partnership with the late William Plomer, winner of the Queens Gold Medal for Poetry and former President of the Poetry Society, who wrote completely new verse to complement Alan Aldridge’s final total of twenty-eight illustrative plates.

The result was the illustrated book of poetry: The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast.

The book was first published in 1973 by Aurelia Enterprises and Jonathan Cape in association with Times Newspapers. It was an immediate success with its first edition of 25,000 copies selling out in three days. Over the next year it went on to sell an unprecedented 700,000 copies, winning the Whitbread Children’s book of the year award.

***** *****

This recording was originally released in 1974 to universal critical acclaim and having already enchanted at least one generation of children (and adults), this digitally re-mastered recording was re-released by Wizard Presents, with additional material, in 2008, to coincide with the publication of a redesigned edition of the book by Templar Publishing; a retrospective exhibition of Alan Aldridge’s work at The Design Museum entitled The Man with Kaleidoscope Eyes; and the publication of Alan Aldridge’s illustrated anthology of the same name by Thames and Hudson.

***** *****

Verse by William Plomer, from the book The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast,

with illustrations by Alan Aldridge. Copyright Alan Aldridge.

Music and additional lyrics composed, written and arranged by
Rod Edwards and Roger Hand; published by Wizard Music.

Narration by Judi Dench and Michael Hordern

Keyboards and vocals: Rod Edwards
Guitar and vocals: Roger Hand
Drums: Gerry Conway; Bass: Bruce Lynch;
Percussion: Tony Carr and Morris Pert;
Solo violin: David Cross and Graham Preskett;
Harmonica: Mox; Piano on Cheers my Dears: Tony Hymas;
String bass on Happy-Go-Lucky Grasshopper: Alan Whalley;
‘The Butterfly Ball’ arranged by Chris Gunning;
Orchestra Leader: Pat Halling; Orchestral Contractor: George Hamer.
Recorded at Decca Studios, London, October 1974 to August 1975.
Sound Engineer: John Burns assisted by Mark Lusardi.
Additional engineering thanks to Derek Varnals and Adrian Martins.
Narration recorded at AIR London, engineer, Geoffrey Emerick.
Digital re-mastering engineer: Richard Spence.
Mastered for cd at Sound Performance, engineer, Andrew Thompson.
Special thanks to Robert Angles and Hugh Mendl

Produced by John Miller, Rod Edwards and Roger Hand.

A Triumvirate Production

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