“Like so many people, my reaction to the news of the tragic and untimely death of Jonathan Crombie was grief, then a burning desire to read all the books and watch all the movies. (Well, maybe not all the movies: I’m firmly in the camp that maintains The Continuing Story was a travesty.)
There’s just one problem with my plan. While we own four copies of Anne of Green Gables, we own not a single copy of books 2-8. (I owned these as a kid and it’s anybody’s guess where those books ended up.) I popped online to make amends, and was delighted—and horrified—to find that my options have ballooned in the past two years.
A word to Montgomery fans: now is the best of times, now is the worst of times. There have never been so many gorgeous editions of Anne to choose from, which means deciding on just one set is terribly difficult. Here’s your guide.
Anne of Green Gables, only
Many publishers have put out striking editions of the first—and only the first—Anne book.
Puffin in Bloom edition ($16)
This beautiful full-color, gold-lettered version of Anne of Green Gables comes from the Puffin in Bloom collection by Rifle Paper Company. I splurged on this collection last fall and love it. I wish they would do more Montgomery titles because I would snatch them all up, but as of this time, none are planned.
Folio Society edition. ($62.95)
This swoon-worthy edition is from the Folio Society, which offers the highest-quality hardcovers for the serious collector. Each book is clothbound, hand-illustrated, and comes with its own slipcover. I own this edition and it is gorgeous. The Folio Society offers periodic sales and a membership program to take a bit of the sting out of the prices.
Puffin clothbound classics edition ($16.95)
I own this edition, which came as part of a beautiful boxed set of children’s classics. This beautiful edition features an introduction by Lauren Child, a short biography of L. M. Montgomery, and a discussion guide. I’ll let you decide how you feel about the pink (although I will say this colorful set looks beautiful on the shelf.)
Anne of Green Gables collections.
If you want the whole series, you have fewer options, but they sure are pretty.
Sourcebooks editions ($8.99 each)
These new editions are illustrated by Canadian artist Jacqui Oakley. Each cover features a portrait of Anne, a home from the story, a flower native to Prince Edward Island, and an animal. Books 1-6 are available; paperback only.
Tundra Books paperback editions ($8.99 each)
This series (all eight books!) features hand-cut illustrations by Canadian paper artist Ellie MacKay. These illustrations were made using paper and ink, and then were set in a miniature theatre to be photographed, which gives them a unique three-dimensional quality. Note: I had a hard time finding these in the U.S. right now.
Tundra Books hardcover editions ($19.99 each)
These 8 editions are made to look like they’re clothbound, with ribbon bookmarks and stunning endpapers. Each cover says “ANNE” against a different colored background. Each book features a bonus short story by L. M. Montgomery.
Simon & Schuster editions (hardcover $16.99-$18.99 each; paperback $5.98 each)
These new releases from Simon & Schuster feature plain colorful backgrounds overlayed with a simple white papercut illustration. Books 1-4 were published last fall, Rainbow Valley came out in January, and Rilla of Ingleside is coming May 12, 2015. I have high hopes they’ll complete the series soon, but the publisher hasn’t said for sure.
A paperback box set of the first four books is available on Book Depository for $23.92.
Bantam paperback box set ($68.25; easy to find for half that)
A classic set featuring all eight books.