The Treasures of Childhood: Books, Toys, and Games from the Opie Collection

Iona Opie, Author, Robert Opie, With, Brian Alderson, With Arcade Publishing $40 (190p) ISBN 978-1-55970-047-4
This stately catalogue offers an enchanting view of the children's books and playthings amassed over 40 years by Iona and the late Peter Opie ( The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren ), well known for their seminal researches into children's folklore. Coauthored with Alderson, the Opies' son, a collector in his own right, and Alderson, London Times children's book editor, the volume surveys the field, from the early 17th century--painfully moralistic ``drab little books''--to glories of the mid-19th century (Edward Lear's madcap A Book of Nonsense and Heinrich Hoffmann's alarming Struwwelpeter ) to modern works (Maurice Sendak's Lullabies and Night Songs ). The trinkets include yo-yos (large and luminous) dating to ``the craze of 1789'' and luxe dolls' houses in which the cupboard has probably never been bare. Fastidiously designed and crisply narrated, the steadfastly informative book carefully avoids nostalgia-mongering, and is bound to spur the general reader's curiosity. (Apr. )
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
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