Many of our most cherished childhood memories recall the pleasure of sitting in a big comfy chair while a doting parent reads from a lovingly illustrated picture book. Jack and the Bean Stalk
, Little Red Riding Hood
, Robinson Crusoe
the colorful illustrations that decorated the pages of these stories remain forever captured in the minds eye.
Once Upon a Time reawakens the joys of childhood reading, of seeing a story come alive in words and pictures on the printed pageand in our nascent imaginations. Drawing upon the extraordinary collection of Victorian-era illustrated books amassed by Arthur and Ellen Liman, it presents fairy tales and fables, nursery rhymes, instructional books, juvenile fiction, histories, and manners manuals. Created through a variety of illustration techniques and printing processes, most are beautifully colored. Many are also animated with moveable parts. These striking objects are accompanied by brief texts that place them within their era and illuminate the rise of children's literature in America as a cultural phenomenon related to the growth of literacy, an increase in leisure time, and an understanding of the "infant mind." The moral of this story: learning your ABCs can be a visual pleasure.