I've mentioned on this blog how much I enjoyed, both as a boy and as an adult reading it aloud, Noel Langley's wry and delightful Arabian Nights fantasia The Land of Green Ginger, a book that Langley (best known, I think, for his work on the script of the film The Wizard of Oz) wrote and rewrote three times over a thirty year period. (My favourite is the second version from 1966, which has twelve and a half chapters.)
This morning's post brought me a book and a letter, from Paul Durrant, an English publisher, explaining that my mentioning The Land of Green Ginger on my blog had caused him to find and reread it, and that he had gone on a quest for more Noel Langley books, the rarest of which was Desbarollda the Waltzing Mouse, with illustrations by Edward Ardizzone. Which, when he found it, he liked so much, he got the rights to republish it, and did (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Desbarollda-Waltzing-Mouse-Noel-Langley/dp/1905946023/).
The book was Desbarollda. I read the first paragraph and was hooked. A sixty-three page eighteenth century novel in the grand manner about a waltzing mouse. Of course.
I found five pages up at Amazon, and am reposting the first two pages of the first chapter here. Click on them to see them large enough to read. If you're going to like it, you'll know pretty quickly:
I'm already putting a list together of people I need to get copies for (let's see.... Susanna Clarke, Ellen Kushner...)