The Surprise Book

New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, c. 1901. Wheelan, Albertine Randall. First Edition. Hardcover. Oblong octavo size, [135] pp. Very good. Item #CNJWEM003

This delightful word play book for children helps teach the meaning of words - presenting an innocuous situation in each poem, only to have the twist revealed in the illustration following; the humour lies in the homophones at the end of the poem. The book demonstrates how words can have more than one meaning, and how words can have different meanings even when they sound the same.

Albertine Randall Wheelan (1863-1954), an early female cartoonist, creates full-page drawings of the "punchlines" of the poems; Wheelan was a successful cartoonist during her life, creating the beloved comic strip "The Dumbunnies", as well as illustrating numerous books for children. Her illustrations here have a charm and life that weaves through the text, making a world of lighthearted surprise and humour.

___DESCRIPTION: Full gold cloth, black lettering and illustration in pink, green, and tan on the front board, title page with black-and-white illustration by Albertine Randall Wheelan, full-page black-and-white illustrations by Wheelan throughout which alternate with the text; oblong octavo size (8.25" by 12.25"), 135 unnumbered pages.

___CONDITION: Very good overall, with clean boards, a strong, square text block, the interior is clean and bright, and the only prior owner marking being a name and the date "Christmas 1901" in pencil on the front free endpaper; some rubbing to the head and tail of the spine and corners, corners are gently bumped, very light soiling to text block edges and to the margins of a few pages, the rear flyleaf with a very short (approx. one-half inch) closed tear with a small piece of cello tape adhered by a prior owner, front hinge with evidence of an old repair, rear hinge is slightly cracked but text block is still strong. Even with these few faults still a remarkably clean copy of this lovely book done in the turn of the century style.

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Price: $500.00