Virtual Children's Books Exhibits


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The art of having fun. Pere Castor activity books.

In 1931, Flammarion began publishing the first titles in the celebrated Albums du Père Castor. Paul Faucher (1898-1967), the series director, adopted the pseudonym Père Castor (that is, Father Beaver). An advocate for the progressive theories of l'Education Nouvelle, Faucher was as ambitious as he was creative. His editorial goal was to produce a library of high quality, reasonably priced illustrated pamphlets for young children that would also cultivate their potential for self-expression through images.

Faucher's dream might have never been realized if he had not been able to hire such remarkable Russian artists. They included Nathalie Parain, Alexandra Exter, Hélène Guertik, Feodor Rojankowsky, and Georges Cherkessof, all recent emigrants from the Soviet Union who had been part of the avant-garde in their homeland. This group designed some of the most striking and influential Modernist books for children of the last century. Ironically, many of those books displayed in the Cotsen gallery January 5-June 15, 2008 were intended to be used up in making things!

Note: Several links lead to French websites, but they can be translated into English.