Virtual Children's Books Exhibits


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8.  Richard Johnson. The Toy-shop; or Sentimental Preceptor.  London: E. Newbery, ca. 1791.

Peeps into toy shops are unusual in eighteenth-century children's book illustrations. By our standards, this shop looks pitifully understocked, but the main attraction is the middle-class owner. Upper-class parents bring their little ladies and gentlemen to hear him wittily (but not unkindly) comment on how their behavior could be improved, not inspect the merchandise. His sales pitches have something in common with Jacob Cats' emblems (number 1) because they describe popular toys such as kites, mirrors, drums, violins, cricket bats, rocking horses, and dolls as symbols of human weaknesses.