Kiev: Molod’, 1953. Item #999
8 pp.: ill. 20,2x26,1 cm. In original illustrated publisher’s wrappers. Tears of the spine, mild soiling of the wrappers, pencil markings on the rear wrapper. Otherwise very good internally clean copy.
Scarce. Most likely first edition. Text in Ukrainian.
Wrapper design and color illustrations throughout by the Soviet graphic artist and illustrator Abram Reznichenko (1916-1973). Reznichenko collaborated with some of the most popular Ukrainian periodicals of the time: Khar’kovskiy parovoznik [i.e. Kharkiv Steam Engine], Kommunizm [i.e. Communism], Sovetskaya Ukraina [i.e. Soviet Ukraine], etc. His work in book design includes Nikolay Ostrovsky’s Kak zakalyalas’ stal’ [i.e. How the Steel Was Tempered] (1949) and Rozhdonnyye burey [i.e. Born of the Storm] (1949), Alexander Boichenko’s Molodost’ [i.e. Youth] (1949), etc.
A UKRAINIAN CHILDREN’S BOOK UNITING SOVIET AND FOREIGN KIDS UNDER THE FLAG OF COMMUNISM.
The verse tells the story of the Soviet children who travel by ship overseas and are greeted with open arms by the poor, “less lucky” children of a foreign land. The kids that are unable to communicate in Russian end up waving flags and chanting the only “magic” word they have in common with the guests – Stalin. The book features illustrations showing a contrast between the neatly dressed, happy Soviet children and ragged African and Asian children.
Stalin’s cult of personality became a prominent feature of Soviet children’s literature in the late 1920s and persisted until the mid-1950s. The Communist leader was usually portrayed as the father of nations and the liberator, who cared equally about the Soviet citizens and people abroad. Three years after his death (1953), new leadership under Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971) denounced Stalin’s politics, initiating a political reform known as ‘‘the exposure of the cult of personality’’ or de-Stalinization. Books like Odno slovo [i.e. One Word] were completely banned in the following years.
The verse was written by the noted Ukrainian poet and playwright Valentin Bichko (1912-1994). He published a number of children’s books with the first one (Materi na zavodakh [i.e. Mothers in Factories]) coming out the same year Bichko graduated from Kharkiv University (1932). His most famous works include Veseli shkolyari [i.e. Happy School Kids] (1941), Veselka [i.e. A Rainbow] (1946), Vohnyshche [i.e. A Bonfire] (1969), etc. Valentin Bichko is also the author of the librettos for the operas Gibel’ eskadry [i.e. The Destruction of the Squadron] (1967) and Mamai (1970) by the Ukrainian composer Vitaliy Hubarenko (1934-2000).
No copies found in Worldcat.