Russian dolls

Cover of Russian illustrated book

I was really pleased to come upon another online repository of images of vintage children’s books this week. So much so it means the unheard of excitement of two posts in one week!

I blogged a website in March 2007 that featured beautiful images from a vintage Japanese magazine called Kodomo no kuni. This time it is Russian children’s books and how gorgeous they are. Not a poor illustration amongst them. They were part of an exhibition in the McGill University Library, Quebec and wouldn’t I have liked to have seen that?

The library apparently has over 350 Soviet children’s books published in the 20s and 30s. From this selection I particularly like the paper cut-out instruction book Iz Bumagi Bez Kleia (deliciously translated as Made of Paper Without Glue) from 1931. As you can see from the picture of the cover above, it has a bright and witty illustration of traditionally dressed woman on its cover, pushing a rather abstract wheelbarrow and happy in her work.

In the same section of the website Women as Partners is my second favourite book: Mamin Most (apparently Mother’s Bridge). Its chromolithographed illustrations are very nice indeed. Seeing women depicted as architectural engineers is unusual enough, but in 1933? Vive la Révolution.

And as I was clicking through the site I had a ‘whatdoyouknow’ moment. I wrote about one of my favourite contemporary illustrated books Ton in July last year. And you can’t help feeling the illustrator of that book, Taro Miura, had seen this book as the characters are look so very similar, down to the outfits, colours and trouser turn-ups. Its nice, though, to see that what goes around, comes around.

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