Moscow: Tsentr. in-t san. prosveshcheniya, Obraztsovaya tipografiya Ogiza, 1943. Item #1639
19 pp.: ill. 12,5x17 cm. In original illustrated publisher’s wrappers. A stain on the front wrapper. Otherwise near fine.
Scarce. First edition. Edited by M. M. Amshinsky.
This extremely rare example of a photobook for children came out at the height of WWII and was written by the Russian writer Nina Sakonskaya (1896-1951). Published by the Central Institute of Health Education of the USSR, the edition is dedicated to the importance of hygiene and a healthy lifestyle. The book echoes the ‘healthy body, healthy mind’ propaganda active in the 1930s-1940s Soviet Union. The dynamic design of the photobook is complemented by black and white photographs and charming photomontages depicting Katya’s adventures with teddy bears. The illustrations were created by the Soviet artists L. Zyuzin and V. Arnold. Katya u medvezhat was the second collaboration between Nina Sakonskaya and the artists, with the first being V gostyakh u obez’yan [i.e. Visiting Monkeys] (1942).
The book tells the story of Katya, a little girl who starts living with two teddy bears and teaches them about personal hygiene: brushing teeth, exercising, etc.
Nina Sakonskaya was a Soviet musician and writer mainly known for her contribution to developing children’s literature in the USSR. Shortly after the death of her parents, Nina left Baku and enrolled at the Moscow Conservatory. From 1922 to 1929, she taught music at the 2nd Moscow Music School and, in 1941, gave music lessons in Yelabuga. Sakonskaya’s early work is almost unknown, although she first appeared in print in 1912 and was part of the Baku Workshop of Poets. In 1927, Nina published the children’s book Knizhka eta pro chetyre tsveta [i.e. This Book is about Four Colors], which became one of her most famous works. Sakonskaya is mostly celebrated for her contribution to the development of Soviet children’s literature through such works as Sine more [i.e. Blue Sea] (1940), Yagodka po yagodke [i.e. Berry to Berry] (1949), etc.
Overall, a rare example of a photobook for children published during WWII.
Worldcat shows one copy of the edition located at Princeton University.