Virtual Children's Books Exhibits


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13.  John Bate.  Mysteryes of Nature and Art.  2nd ed.  London: For Ralph Mab and are to be sold by John Jackson and Francis Church at the Kings Arms in Cheapside, 1634 [i.e. 1635]. 

13a.  Pages 118-9, "How to Make a Firedrake."

The display of fireworks exploding over the lion's head includes a firedrake, or large cloth kite impregnated with oil to be set on fire for night flying. The first page of instructions for making one are on the page to the right. Sir Isaac Newton is supposed to have owned a copy of Bate when he was a boy, so perhaps there in some truth in the anecdote that he made kites accessorized with lanterns to light his way to school on dark mornings or scare his neighbors in the village of Grantham. The appeal of playing with lighted kites has never been extinguished—it's possible that the famous Exeter UFO sightings were the work of a prankster with a tricked-out kite.