Note: Harry Rountree was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1878. Having studied at Queens College in his home city, he started working in a studio as a lithographer, primarily tasked with the design of labels for a variety of products. Rountree moved to London in 1901 at the age of 21 and attended the Regent Street polytechnic, studying under Percival Gaskell. Wanting to break into the burgeoning magazine and book market, he developed a suitable style that consisted of blocks of colour encompassed by jagged edges which was perfect for small illustrations and sizeable posters. At first he was less than successful, spending most of his time studying and struggling to market his work, managing only to sell a few pieces here and there.
By 1903 he was contributing to various periodicals including the Humorist, Playtime, and Punch. His big break came when the Editor of Little Folks offered him a commission for the illustration of an extremely popular series of books featuring animals. Subsequent to this, Rountree became exceptionally successful in London, illustrating books in the aforementioned series, illustrating his own book, and being highly sought-after by many of the publishing companies in the city. He had finally achieved the success that he desired, and he could pick and choose who he worked for.