The attitudes in children's books of the last century reveal sensibilities and humor far removed from those of today. We look with amusement at the simple banalities and ponder the occasionally sublime or profound touch:
"Heard you the sermon for the poor to-day? I did; and, if I might determine, 'Twas what it professed to be- A remarkably poor sermon!" (pasted-in endpaper from The Child's Cyclopedia, 1.3.17, 1841). From Home Pastimes or Enigmas, Charades and Conundrums to Exercise the Mind (1.5.17), we learn: "What wine is Mock agony? -Champagne."
But sage advice is handed down from The Bears of Augustusburg (5.2.2):
"It is not good to eat cherries with great lords."
Reprinted from The Ampersand, quarterly journal of the Pacific Center for the Book Arts. Summer 2000.
Thank you to the staff of The Book Arts and Special Collections Center at the San Francisco Public Library -Andrea Grimes, Asa Peavy, and Susie Taylor- for their assistance.