Mamma’s Tales; or, Pleasing Stories of Childhood, Adapted to the Infant Mind. London, A.K. Newman, ca. 1826.
First Edition. 12mo (170 x 100 mm), hand-coloured engraved frontispiece and pp. -34, blank leaves at beginning and end used as paste-downs, with 13 half-page coloured engravings in the text, slightly browned throughout with occasional light stains, in the original printed pink paper wrappers with printed title within decorative vignette and outer border on the front wrapper and advertisements on the back wrapper, the pink faded and both covers a little dampstained, spine and extremities chipped, with the contemporary ownership inscription in ink on the front pastedown: ‘Emmeline Cole, a gift from her dear Mama, June 4th’.
First edition of this delightful book of moral tales for children, accompanied by a series of attractive hand-coloured engravings. Essentially cautionary tales, though with a focus on the rewards of virtue rather than the perils of waywardness, each of Madame Leinstein’s tales draw together a particularly good child or group of children and contrasts them with the anti-hero in a short story in which the mean-minded (or vain, or timid, or bullying, or messy) child manages by good fortune to avoid disaster while the good child reaps the rewards for his or her actions. In each case, witnessing the benefits of the virtuous deed is sufficient to bring the other child to the path of virtue and both henceforth become firm friends. In one of the tales, the unfortunate hero is a young robin, whose nest is in ‘a pretty garden, where no bad boys ever came’, in the middle of a beautiful rose bush. Although his parents lavished great care on him and the young bird wanted for nothing, he longed to fly about in the air like his parents and so he left the nest, only to fall, wounded, into a nearby field. Contrary to the usual laws of nature, his parents discover him, build him a field-side nest all of his own where he recuperates, learns the folly of his ways and grows into a sensible, and chastened, adult bird.
Madame Leinstein was the author of a couple of very successful schoolbooks for younger children, Punctuation in Verse, or the Good Child’s Book of Stops, 1835 and The Rudiments of Grammar in Verse or a Party to the Fair, ca. 1823. In both of these works, the text is accompanied by coloured engravings in a similar style to the present. She is also known to have translated children’s literature from the German, such as Unlucky John and his lump of silver, 1825, although there is no evidence to suggest that the present tales are a translation. A couple of American edition was published, one in Massachussets by Nathaniel Simpkins, Barnstable, circa 1832 and one by Davis Porter in Philadelphia, circa 1840.
OCLC lists Florida and Morgan Library; COPAC adds Bodleian and the V&A.
Cotsen Catalogue 30114.