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The Redwall Collectors Community series has most recently covered some of the rarer Redwall items for collectors, today I'll be discussing something a bit more accessible to everyone.
The Redwall: 20th Anniversary Gift Package was released in 2007 by Firebird to celebrate the Twentieth Anniversary of the publication of Redwall in the United States, and it certainly is a collector's item, and not just because of its limited release - there is a significant publisher error (perhaps more than one)! But more on that later.
The Gift Package is constructed out of a solid cardboard casing with the Redwall Twentieth Anniversary art on the front exterior; on the back the contents of the interior are revealed:
- Three Handsome Paperbacks
- Poster Featuring New Cover Art
- An Exclusive Look Into The Life of Brian Jacques
- A Complete Set of Redwall Trading Cards
After removing the slipcase, you'll notice Gary Chalk's map clearly embossed onto the back. The map is important, and we'll get to that soon.
Unfolding the package unveils the contents; the three inner books of Redwall are neatly inserted into pockets, with the trading cards tucked into a pocket of their own on the far right.
The illustrations on the front of each book come from Troy Howell's original cover artwork; chapter icons from the inside of each book are embossed on the back. The backs of Book One and Book Two consist of each book's chapter 16 icon; the back of Book Three consists of its chapter 12 icon.
Opening up the books is where things get interesting. All three books come complete with all of Gary Chalk's illustrations, however I felt that the publisher could have included Troy Howell's fantastic book plates from the Tenth Anniversary Edition, and by book plates I mean the illustrations separating each book, not the color illustrations.
Inside Book One we are greeted with the map and 108 pages; inside Book Two there is no map and 160 pages; and inside Book Three we get the map again, and 111 pages (95 pages for story, 16 pages for a tribute to Brian Jacques).
Now, here's my question: Was the lack of a map in Book Two intentional or a publisher error? As someone who enjoys consistency, I find it makes sense to include a map in either all three books, or just the first one. I can't figure out what happened here, and it's a bit of a mystery.
As I stated in my introduction, there is a publisher error in Book Three for a fact! Obviously Firebird uses the same title page template for each book, however someone forgot to change one little word after using the template for Book Two, as the title page for Book Three reads "Book Two: The Warrior". I've included an image of this.
At the end of Book Three Patricia Lee Gauch has written a brief feature entitled "About Brian Jacques"; a friend and editor of Jacques, Gauch is actually stepping down from Philomel at the end of this month.
Of note about this essay is that the font size for the text is actually larger than the font size for the Book Three text, so it's slightly difficult on the eyes after you've already adjusted to Book Three.
Gauch (whose name was given to the character Gauchee) writes a passionate description of Jacques, and how as a former working man himself, he continually includes elements about characters like him (the moles, Guosim, etc).
The Redwall Trading Cards come wrapped in plastic packaging, and I've opted not to remove this. All 19 cards are there, however curiously the Firebird marketing on the back directs readers to a list of Redwall books at Firebird's website. Even though it is 2009, Firebird's site remains largely unchanged from 2007, and it contains nothing on the Redwall series.
Beneath the pocket for the cards we find a fold-out poster of the Redwall Twentieth Anniversary cover, with Jacques' signature. On the back is his press photo and a brief biography.
All-in-all, this is an ace Redwall package, and all fans should get one, especially considering the error. I purchased mine from an independent retailer on Amazon.com for $6 including shipping!