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KINGSLEY, Charles.

The Water-Babies: A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby.

With two illustrations by J. Noel Paton.

London: Macmillan and Co., 1863 Stock Code: 120414
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The book that initiated the first golden age of children's books in England

First edition, first issue, with the "L'Envoi" leaf: "Kingsley had second thoughts about this while the book was being printed, and he had the leaf removed, but not before a few hundred copies of the book had already gone forth" (Gottlieb, Early Children's Books and Their Illustration, 113). Kingsley's book initiated the first golden age of children's books in England: he "was the first writer in England, perhaps the first in the world, except for H. C. Andersen, to discover that a children's book can be the perfect vehicle for an adult's most personal and private concerns it was quite different from anything else written for children in a small space, it managed to discover and explore almost all the directions that children's books would take over the next 100 years" (Carpenter, Secret Gardens).

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Square octavo (192 x 150 mm). Recent green morocco by Bayntun-Riviere, gilt titles and decorations to spine in compartments, gilt vignettes and frames to covers, turn-ins and edges gilt, marbled endpapers. With the original cloth front cover bound in at rear.


Frontispiece with tissue-guard, plate and woodcut initials.


Bookseller's stamp to front free endpaper verso. Boards slightly bowed, grease spot to rear cover, small tear and loss to final leaf, not affecting text; an excellent copy.


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