And just below Goodnight Moon I learned about a book I'd never seen before: The First Picture Book, illustrated by the photographer Edward Steichen and written by his daughter, Mary Steichen Calderone. It grew out of the Bank Street/Lucy Sprague Mitchell theory of babies as "little empiricists" who would benefit from seeing things from their real lives in the books they read. It features stark photographs of wooden shapes:
Other sections in the exhibition include (among many others) patriotism and nationalism, "assembly line" books (like the Nancy Drew series), banned books, and stories about New York City. In addition to explaining the training and motivations of authors of children's books, at many points in the exhibition the viewer is treated to original illustrations and archival documents--like this letter from Louis Carroll to Alice Liddell (for whom he wrote Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass):Eric Carle. It shows original samples of the paper he used in his distinctive collage illustrations: 5th Ave at 42nd St). But hurry! The show closes March 23. And, if you're feeling inspired and want to check out some of the historic children's books in the TC collection, here's how to search for them in our catalog. From Educat, search for "Children's stories" using the subject search: Then, from the results page, sort by year: If you'd like to take a look at one of these older volumes, just click to request it from the closed stacks. Happy searching!