AbeBooks: The Illustration of Walter Crane: "Walter Crane (1845 - 1915) was an English artist best known for his illustrations of children's books, nursery rhymes in particular. He was also an ardent socialist, believing strongly in the importance of art, culture and craftsmanship in the world. He joined the Arts and Crafts movement which began in England in the late 19th century, and strove to make art a part of everyday life. Crane's journey as an artist began in earnest during his early adolescence when he spent three years as an apprentice to wood-engraver William James Linton.
Crane's study of wood-engraving, as well as methods such as Japanese wood blocks and color prints led him to create some of the era's most rich, detailed children's art. He was the man behind Toy Books, so-called because of their small size and short length - perfect for little hands and imaginations.