Regular readers of my musings know that while we specialize in art books, my heart and collecting interests lie with illustrated books. The difference? Look up a previous musing titled “Illustrated Books vs Art Books.”
There are fabulous illustrators from around the world, going back centuries. France has more than their fair share, just the same with artists. We have a few in our personal library, and I thought that I would do a series featuring some of these wonderful books. Although you might question just how wonderful, this French children’s book is!
Les Defauts Horribles: Histories Ebouriffantes et morales pour les Petit Enfants de 3 a 6 ans; par Trim, II Menteurs, Envieux, Curieux Criards et Trepignards; Paris, Librairie de L. Hachette et Cie., Boulevard Saint-Germaine, 77. G. Jundt.
This translates roughly as follows “Horrific Hair-Raising and Moral Stories, for Little Children from 3 to 6 years old; by Trim. Volume II. Old, Curious, Screaming and Trepignards (whatever that is). Paris bookstore of L. Hachette et Cie, Boulevard Saint-Germaine, 77. Illustrated by G. Jundt.
There is no date of publication but inside the front cover there is a handwritten note “Bartow, bought in Paris April 26, 1867, paid 3 francs.
When we lived in Annapolis, Maryland, in the late 1990s, I used to stop into a local antique store on a regular basis. They had some books, mostly newer titles. One day, I went in, and they had a small number of books in the glass counter in the front of the shop – where the owners kept “the good stuff”. They dated from the 18th and 19th centuries, not pricy, and I bought them all, including this book.
The author “Trim” was a pseudonym for Louis G. F. Ratisbonne (1827-1900), a French “man of letters” from Strasbourg. He became the librarian at Fontainebleau and then at the Palais du Luxembourg. He was the author of “some charming fables and verses for children”. Well, you can determine for yourself how charming this children’s book is after you look at the photos below. And for children 3 to 6!
Moral stories for children in the 19 th century were all about scaring kids into becoming young, moral citizens. There are lots of animals in the photos below but just maybe a bit more frightening than the cute, sweet animals we see in today’s children’s books.
Have a look!
That little, actually not so little, boy now knows better than to pull a cats tail!
I will leave you with the following photo of a laid -in sheet that was tucked into the back of the book. This would be OK today too!