Moscow: Molodaia gvardiia, 1932. Item #1214
16 pp.: ill. 18х13 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Tiny corner of front cover lost, otherwise near fine.
First and only edition. Very rare.
The book of riddles by Jewish children’s author Rachel Engel’ (1900-1944) gathered ideas of world exploration, speed and technical progress. Every object listed is wind-driven or closely related to it: hasty airplanes that were completely made of Soviet details by 1932; large-scale airships, the construction of which began in the 1930s again, thanks to needs of Soviet Arctic expeditions. There is a high-altitude balloon although the country had no one by 1932. The Soviet Union was just preparing to launch the USSR-1 that lifted off in 1933. It is also interesting that a wall-mounted air conditioning unit was drawn next to a window with a view to the Kremlin. Up to 1955, home air conditioning was considered a bourgeois luxury. In 1940, a magazine ‘Heating and Ventilation’ published an article on this topic and was severely criticized.
The book included more simple and common objects as well: a paper windmill, colorful balloons, toy sailboat, etc. A weathercock was described in a very Soviet way “It prepares bulletins about what kind of winds have flown to us”.
The book was designed by Dmitrii Melnikov (1889-1966), known as a book illustrator and poster designer. He started to draw caricatures on public figures during his study at Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in the 1910s. He published drawings, as well as articles on art, in magazines ‘Teatr i Rampa’, ‘Novyi Satirikon’, ‘Tvorchestvo’. In the 1930s, he made caricatures of masters of political caricatures Deni, Cheremnykh, Moor. Just like them, he designed propaganda posters and collaborated with the Soviet press.
Not found in Worldcat.
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