Virtual Children's Books Exhibits


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Creepy Crawlies Creepy Crawlies

15a.  Friedrich Justin Bertuch.
Bilderbuch zum Nutzen und Vergnügen der Jugend.
Prague: Peter Bohmanns Erben, 1822-1827.

Detail from plate showing various magnifications of a fly’s head.

15.  Thomas Boreman.
A Description of a Great Variety of Animals and Vegetables.
London: J. T. for Thomas Boreman, 1736.

One of the first English natural history books written especially for children featured several plates about insects, including this one about the blue fly. Boreman, who was also author of a work on the culture of silk worms, compiled this text from important contemporary works of science and exploration, such as Robert Hooke's Micrographia. As those books were prohibitively expensive for many people interested in the new science, Boreman wanted to make their contents more widely available. In his account of this insect, Boreman observed how beautifully its foot had been designed so that it was able to walk perpendicularly up any kind of surface and cling there as long as it liked. His enthusiasm for this noxious creature would have been regarded by many of his contemporaries as somewhat mad.