Moscow: Detizdat, 1937. 252 pp.: ill. 22x18 cm. In original illustrated full cloth. Very good, slightly soiled, spine faded, some stains, signatures on the front endpaper.
First edition. Astonishing photomontage book regarded as an example of a few surrealist editions in the early Soviet Union. A story is about two children who shrunk themselves to the size less than insects and met them during adventures. Escaped from the propaganda dominating the photomontage of the late 1930s, this edition could be seen as the experiment. In 1937 another photomontage edition got round the propaganda: ‘Travel Inside of Electrical Lamp’ depicted children who fit inside a lightbulb trying to fix it.
This particular book contains 15 full-page photomontages and 2 photomontage vignettes. All of them were constructed of close-ups of insects and small figures of people. Two children and one grown-up were actors hired for this photo-story.
The most interesting picture shows how the children are flying on a dragonfly. The background is a wide city street with several trams and a lot of people down below the dragonfly and its passengers. Other pictures display as the characters fought with beetles, climbed up flowers, swam on the nut, etc.
The original edition was criticized, but the story later was reprinted with drawn illustrations numerous times and was adapted into a feature film.
Fantasy stories prevailed among works of Ian Larri (1900-1977), biologist and author of children’s books since the 1920s. Some of them confronted the tyranny in the USSR, and Larri was arrested for one satirical story in 1941.
Karasik, ‘The Impact Book of the Soviet Youngsters’ (p. 240-243)
Only copy is located in Minnesota Univ., according to Worldcat.