Reading for all: children

Children’s fiction

Texts have long been produced for the instruction or entertainment of children, but the development of children’s literature as a separate and recognisable publishing activity occurred in the mid-eighteenth century. The book-case of knowledge (London: printed for J. Wallis, 1800) was distinctive in being accompanied by its own custom-made wooden bookcase – a clever marketing ploy to ensure that customers bought the whole set. The ten volumes (this set is missing two), with hand-coloured illustrations, cover various suitable subjects including British heroism, simple arithmetic, and geography and astronomy ‘familiarized for youth of both sexes’.


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