Moscow: Vsekokhudozhnik, 1935. Item #489
104,  pp.: ill., 3 pl. 25x18 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Restoration of the front cover (back cover is new) and front endpaper, marks on the front cover and front endpaper, damp stain on the lower margin on few pages. Otherwise very good.
One of the most important Soviet artists of a children’s book Vladimir Konashevich participated in the making of this book on toys. First and only edition of the first and only collection. One of 10300 copies. Scarce. Wrappers and endpapers designed by V.M. Konashevich. Edited by Y. Perelman, S.F. Dubyansky, P.V. Leontiev and Konashevich.
The book is addressed to young readers in order to create a new workshop - ‘our workshop’ where kids are workers who don’t play but rather build and construct proper toys. Articles by Konashevich, V. Tambi, A. Perelman with illustrations by Tambi, S. Mochalov, Konashevich on making different kind of toys by children themselves. There are instructions on how to build human and animal figures, vehicles (autos, different kinds of tractors, trucks, bus, timber carrier, fire truck, etc.), mills (wind turbines), planes and boats; puzzles; indoors sport games; wooden animal toys as well as instructions on what materials and instruments to use, how to dye toys and which dye to use.
In the late 1920s a new publishing trend emerged - ‘samodelka’ book [i.e. book for self-making]. There were other types of illustrated books at that time like books-riddles, books-toys, coloring books but samodelka stood out and in a way was a part of a Soviet ideology (interesting that these illustrated polytechnic books replaced fairy tales which dominated before). The end of 1920s-beginning of 1930s was marked by industrial boom. Future builders of socialism were supposed to get involved as soon as possible, starting with games. That was the tusk that publishing houses faced - to introduce young readers to modern technologies, professions and manufacturing. Not only they were told about all of that but also they were proposed to build toy factories, cars and other things themselves (the title of the book ‘Our Workshop’ speaks for itself).
The serial nature of books with the same format and layout pushed back individual editions. The small format of school notebooks which was familiar for children prevailed. This often allowed to print books on scraps or even on one sheet of paper. Chromolithography was the main print type for these books. The high quality of this new type of books is due to the talent of their creators - illustrators (like Vera Ermolaeva, Vladimir Konashevich, Eleonore Kondiain, Konstantin Kuznetsov, Natalie Paren, Lidia Popova and others) and writers (Boris Zhitkov, Mikhail Ilyin, Samuel Marshak, Yakov Perelman). Ideas of constructivism often found its way onto pages of these books. General tagline for these books could have been El Lissizky’s plea: "Don’t read - take - papers - stakes - pieces of wood - fold - paint - build".
Not in the Worldcat.