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A Small Collection of Children's books, Published by Ivan Sytin

By Various

Moskva (Moscow): Tipografiia T-va I. D. Sytina, 1917. Softcover. Three books, 1917 - 1918; presumed first editions; 8 x 6; pp. 20, 19, and 20, respectively; chromolithographed wraps; all three with small rubbed spots to spine and corners; staples replaced; one with small loss of paper to lower margin of title leaf; illustrated with full chromolithographed plates; overall in very good condition. Ivan Sytin (1851 – 1934) was a prominent publisher, owner of the biggest publishing empire in pre-Revolutionary Russia. Growing up poor and semi-literate, with only two years of formal education, at the age of 15 he apprenticed for a Moscow publisher, who would eventually help him open his own business in 1876. He was catapulted from obscurity to fame in 1882, where he received a medal for his exhibits at the All-Russian Industrial and Artistic Exhibition and even more so in 1884, when Tolstoy chose him to work on his books. He would also publish a newspaper and would found Sytin's Art School, many of which's students would go on to work for him after graduation. He would become famous for his children's books, illustrated with Russian folk motifs in the style of Ivan Bilibin. The three current publications were issued right around and shortly after the Revolution, when his printing house was nationalized and, although the Bolsheviks allowed him to continue publishing, his books were strictly censored and made to conform to the Government's requirements. - Ivashko. Russkaia narodnaia skazka (Ivashko. A Russian Folk Tale) - Deviat bratev (Nine Brothers) - Zolotoi. Skazka dlia detei sredniago vozrasta (Golden. A Fairy Tale for Middle-school Children)


Snezhnaia koroleva (The Snow Queen)

By Andersen, G.

S. l. (Munich [?]): Iunost (Approved by U.N.R.R.A., Team 568), 1946. Softcover. First edition thus, n. d. (ca 1946); oblong 5 3/4 x 8; pp. 3-36; illustrated beige wraps; light age-toning around margins; a few light spots, mostly to back wrap; full-page black & white illustrations by Konstantin Kuznetsov; very good or better condition. An unusual and quite beautiful edition of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," the book was published at a DP camp (displaced persons), for the children of its residents. Millions of Russians, Ukrainians, etc. spent time at the repurposed concentration camps and SS barracks, governed by the Soviet and US American occupational forces, between 1945 and 1947, before being forcefully repatriated back to their homelands, emigrating to the US and Canada, or committing suicide. The artist of the book, Konstantin Kuznetsov (1886 - 1943), was a renowned Russian engraver, painter, illustrator, and designer, who was particularly interested in illustrating children's books and headed the art circle of the Department for the Propaganda of the Children’s Books at the Museum of Public Education of the RSFSR. Not in OCLC or in the trade (as of December 2015).


Poslovitsy, pogovorki i zagadki Russkogo naroda (Proverbs, Sayings, and Riddles of the Russian People) [Illustrated by Dmitrii Moor (Orlov) / Personal copy of Lieutenant Colonel Victor de Guinzbourg]

By Bulatov, M. A.

Moskva/Leningrad: Gosudarstvennoe izdatelstvo detskoi literatury, 1948. Hardcover. First edition; 11 1/4" x 8 3/4"; pp. [2], 3-48, [4]; cloth-backed, illustrated paper over boards; light age-toning; several closed cuts and nicks to edges of boards; a few leaves with brittle and chipped corners; illustrated in black & white by Dmitrii Moor; bookplate of Lieutenant Colonel Victor de Guinzbourg to front board verso; overall in very good condition. A remarkable and quite uncommon children's book of proverbs and riddles, it was published in the aftermath of the Second World War and illustrated by a true master of graphic art and one of the pioneers of the Soviet political poster. Dmitrii Stakhievich Orlov - Moor (1883 - 1946) did not have a formal art education. He began his career as a caricaturist for several liberal journals, including the satirical magazine Budilnik. Eventually, his striking posters of the Revolution,Civil War, and later, the Second World War, usually rendered as black-and-white ink drawings, would become milestones of the era. Although best known for his graphic design, Moor also worked for various magazines, created movie posters, and illustrated several books, including the current one, which was published posthumously, 2 years after his death. The previous owner of the book, Victor de Guinzbourg (c1906 - 1976) was the son of the owner of the Russo-Asiatic Bank, the latter being responsible for arranging the financing for the Trans-Siberian Railroad. He was also a close cousin of Sigmund Freud on his mother's side. Escaping after the Revolution, his family fled first to Germany and then the United States. Victor joined the US Army and worked as an Allied Intelligence agent during WWII and as an interpreter for the UN thereafter. He was one of the very first to gain access to Eagles Nest.


Sto zahadok dlia nashykh ditok. Druha knizhechka (A hundred Riddles for Our Children. A Second Little Book)

By Fedchuk, Bohdan

Toronto: Obednannia Ukrainskykh pedahohiv u Kanadi, 1961. Softcover. First edition; 8 1/2 x 6; pp. [1], 4-51; green wraps, ruled and printed in orange and black; faint creases to corners; small nicks to tips of spine; very mild age-toning to margins of wraps; illustrated with drawings in b & w; very good or better condition. An interesting little book of riddles, with answers, many of which were presented in the form of drawings, published for the children of Ukrainian emigres in Canada. It was created by the Ukrainian-Canadian author and educator Bohdan Fedchuk (1907 - 1992), known for his children's books of rebuses, puzzles, and brainteasers.


Garri Potter i kubok ognia (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)

By Roling, Dzh.

Moskva: Rosmen, 2002. Hardcover. First edition; 8 x 5 1/2; pp. 3-665, [5]; illustrated paper over boards; a few small wrinkles to tips of spine; very minor wear to corners; very good to near fine condition. The fourth book of the beloved Harry Potter series, it was published in Russia two years after the original first British edition and would be reprinted several times (in 2007, 2014, etc.) with copies numbering in the millions.


Rasskaz o velikom plane (The Story of the Great Plan)

By Ilin, Mikhail (pseud. for Marshak, Ilia)

Moskva/Leningrad: Molodaia gvardiia, 1931. Softcover. Third edition; 8 1/2 x 6 1/2; pp. 3-211, [3]; illustrated wraps with cover art by artist Mikhail Razulevich; small nicks and rubbed spots to edges of wraps; 2" loss of paper to head of spine; illustrated with photographs; good to very good condition. Ilia Marshak (1896 - 1953), writing under the pseudonym Mikhail Ilin, was the younger brother of the father of Russian children's literature Samuil Marshak (1887 - 1964). The current book was Ilia's first, and this third edition was as significant, in its own way, as the original first. Following in the footsteps of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, Ilia presented to children complex, scientific topics in vivid, clear, and easy-to-understand images. His brother Samuil described his books' premise as "Imagination creates understanding." His books rapidly gained popularity with the beginning of the First Five-Year Plan in 1931. Although thousands of children enjoyed his first work and its descriptions of industries, goals, and natural resources, many of them wrote back letters with feedback stating that the design of the first edition's wraps, with its image of dreary, gray, heavy machinery, had made them hesitate before picking up a copy. Thus, Ilia and Razulevich completely reworked the cover art for the third edition to bear a dynamic, easily-comprehensible, and heroic-looking illustration.


Pogremushki. Stikhi (Rattles. Poems)

By Korvin-Piotrovskii, Vladimir

Berlin: Ladyzhnikov, I., 1922. Hardcover. First edition; oblong 8 3/4 x 11 1/2; pp. [25]; cloth-backed, illustrated paper over boards; paper along edges rubbed; some foxing and age-toning mostly contained to title page and margins of pages; illustrated with full-page chromolithographed plates and in-line silhouettes; overall in very good condition. A scarce Russian emigre children's poetry publication, it would most probably be author, poet, and playwright Vladimir Korvin-Piotrovskii's (1891 - 1966) very first book. Before emigrating, he served in the White Army and was captured by the Bolsheviks and shot, but he survived and escaped to Germany through Poland in 1920. In Berlin, he met Vladimir Sirin (Nabokov) and Iurii Ofrosimov and became heavily involved in the Russian literary community. He was an active member of the Berlin Poets' Club - a society of Russian emigre poets - together with Vera and Vladimir Nabokov, Raisa Blokh, Mikhail Gorlin, Sofiia Pregel, etc. While in Germany, Piotrovskii contributed to and edited various emigre journals, published several other children's books and poetry compilations, and also co-authored - under the pseudonym Rene Kadu - the mock-fantasy novel "Atlantis under Water." In 1939, Vladimir and his wife moved to France, where he was active in the French Resistance movement. The last five years of his life, from 1961 to 1966, Vladimir and Nina Piotrovskii lived in Los Angeles. OCLC lists one copy at Amherst College, none other in the trade (as of March 2015).


Taras Bul'ba. Povest' (Taras Bulba. A Novel)

By Gogol, N.

Moskva/Leningrad (Moscow/St. Petersburg): Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel'stvol'stvo Detskoi Literatury, 1946. Hardcover. First edition thus; 11 3/4 x 9; pp. 154; illustrated beige cloth over boards; a few spots to margins of boards; illustrated with full-page and in-line autolithographs by Evgenii Kibrik; very good condition. A beautiful and lavishly illustrated edition of Gogol's "Taras Bulba" - the romanticized historical novel of the journey of an old Cossack and his sons to joining in the war against Poland. Initially published in 1835, the story was dubbed "too Ukrainian," prompting the author to rewrite and greatly expand it and leading to a second edition, published in 1842 and featuring many more Russian nationalist themes. The original first edition would not be reprinted and made available in Ukraine until 2005. The illustrator, Evgenii Kibrik (1906 - 1978), was a Russian graphic artist, painter, and Professor at the Surikov Art Institute in Moscow. He was renowned for the psychological depth of his figures and for his mastery of various techniques, including autolithography, ink, and charcoal.


Chypalak Bala. Zhomok / Mal'chik s Pal'chik. Skazka [Bilingual Book]

By Aitmatov, Chingiz

Frunze: Mektep, 1985. Softcover. First edition; 7 3/4 x 10 1/4; pp. 24; illustrated wraps; small rubbed spot to lower margin of back wrap from removed bookshop label, else minor wear to edges and corners; full-page and in-line color illustrations; near fine condition. In Kyrgyz and Russian. An entertaining variant of the tale of Tom Thumb, the book follows the story of Chypalak - a thumb-sized boy, and his outrageous adventures which include his being repeatedly swallowed by a camel and a wolf. 3 copies in institutions with none other presently in the trade.


Pesnia pro Tsaria Ivana Vasil'evicha, Molodogo Oprichnika i Udalogo Kuptsa Kalashnikova [A Song about Tsar Ivan Vasil'evich, His Young Oprichnik, and the Valiant Merchant Kalashnikov]

By Lermontov, Mikhail

Moscow / Leningrad: Izdatel'stvo Detskoi Literatury, 1938. Softcover. First edition thus; 6" x 8 1/2"; pp. 31; illustrated blue wraps; rubbing along spine and corners; a few small nicks and a slight ripple to fore-edge; b & w illustrations by P. Korovin; good or better condition. Part of the series "Kniga za Knigoi," the book is a beautiful young and middle-school aged children's edition of Lermontov's romantic poem of merchant Kalashnikov who is put to death by Tsar Ivan the Terrible.



By Turgenev, Ivan

Cheboksary: Chuvashskoe Knizhnoe Izdatel'stvo, 1974. Softcover. First edition thus; 5 x 8; pp. [2], 5-60, [2]; illustrated wraps; small nicks to tips of spine; lower corners a bit bent; light uniform age-toning to pages; illustrated by I. Astapova; very good or better. A beautiful edition of Turgenev's short story about a deaf/mute peasant and his dog Mumu.


Zimnie Kartinki [An Accordion-style Book]

By Ladonshchikov, G.

Moscow: Malysh, 1975. Hardcover. First edition thus; 4 1/2 x 5 1/2; pp. 8; cloth-backed boards; pages and covers laminated; illustrated by A. Brei; minor wear; near fine. An adorable children's rhyming book on various animals during the cold winter.


Daleko li do Saigatki?

By Perfil'eva, A.

Moscow/Leningrad: Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel'stvo Detskoi Literatury, 1948. Hardcover. First edition (presumed - OCLC lists only a later 1962 edition); 7 x 8 3/4; pp. [2], 3-219; [5]; clothe-backed pictorial boards; some wear and rubbing along edges and a few spots to margins of covers; foxing to first and last page only, else clean; small personal stamp and a number to endpaper and title page; illustrated in b&w by B. Vinokurova; overall in good to very good condition. Published in a relatively small run (30 000 copies), the book tells the story of little Varia who is visiting her grandparents in the village of Saigatka. When the Great War breaks out and the peace is shattered, Varia decides to run back to Moscow and her parents. Whom will she meet on the road and will she ever manage, on her own, to find her way home?


Dimitrovski Ogun. Stikhove i Poemi za Detsa i Iunoshi

By Bosev, Asen

Sofia: Bulgarski Pisatel, 1949. First edition (limited to 8000 copies); 7 x 9; [2], 5-173, [1]; red pictorial wraps; 1/2" loss of paper to tail of spine and two chips to fore-edge of front cover; few small tears around staples on first free page, else clean and well preserved; small signature to upper corner of first and second page; few penciled-in numbers to margins; illustrated by artist Georgi Kovachev (Grishata); very good condition. The title of the book literally translates as "Dimitrov's Fire" and refers to the name of Georgi Dimitrov - the leader of the Third Comintern from 1934 to 1943 and the first Communist leader of Bulgaria from 1946 to 1949. A compilation of typical children's propaganda poems by one of the most beloved Bulgarian authors of children's literature in the 20th century, this edition was, nevertheless, printed in an extremely small run as most other children's works from the period numbered in the hundreds of thousands. The book won the Dimitrov Prize - the highest Bulgarian national award for contributions to science, art, and culture - in 1949. The cover design and illustrations were created by, then very young, artist Georgi Kovachev (nickname "Grishata"). He was a member of the Union of Bulgarian Artists, painter, graphic designer, and book illustrator. He was also credited with designing one of the best Bulgarian typefaces - Grotesque Grimil. His art presently graces galleries and museums in Bulgaria and abroad. Not in OCLC or in the trade.


Plot Idet na Sever

By Sartakov, Sergei

Moscow/Leningrad: Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel'stvo Detskoi Literatury, 1952. Hardcover. First edition; 5 x 8; pp. [2], 3-173, [3]; cloth-backed pictorial boards; some rubbing mostly along extreme edges of covers; few small nicks to fore-edge; illustrated in b&w by artist V. Ermolov; very good or better. Sergei Sartakov was born in 1908 in Omsk and grew up in the Siberian taiga after his family fled his hometown in the turmoil of the Revolution where he was unable to attend public school and was home-schooled by his mother. He began his literary career publishing articles and short stories in various journals. The plots of most of his historical novels and children's adventure stories revolve around Siberia and his unfailing love for the wilderness of Northern Russia and its people.



By Andersen, G. H.

Moscow: Detskaia Literatura, 1967. Hardcover. First edition thus; 8 x 10 1/2; pp. [2], 3-174, [2]; grey leatherette over boards; gilt illustration to front cover; closed cuts and some rubbing to tips of spine; wear to corners with a small bump to lower corner of front cover, else boards clean; faint ripple to bottom margin of several pages, else mostly well preserved; illustrated in b&w; overall good to very good condition. What sets this particular edition of Andersen's tales apart are the beautiful illustrations by Vladimir Konashevich - one of Russia's revered graphic artists and illustrators in the first half of the 20th century. Some of the fairy tales include "Thumbelina," "The Ugly Duckling," etc.


Vverkh Dnom [Topsy Turvy (The Purchase of the North Pole)]

By Vern, Zhul'

Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel'stvo Detskoi Literatury, 1949. Softcover. First Russian edition presumed (research shows no indication of earlier Russian editions); 5 x 7 3/4; pp. [2], 3-130, [3]; stiff pictorial wraps; two small spots to margin of front cover and minor wear and rubbing to edges; near fine condition. Illustrated in b&w by N. Muratova. Jules Verne's 'The Purchase of the North Pole' or 'Topsy-Turvy' (French: Sans dessus dessous)was first published in 1889 as a sequel to 'From the Earth to the Moon.' The story features members of the Baltimore Gun Club who purchase part of the Arctic which extends to the North Pole and set out to invent a cannon which, when engaged, would straighten the tilt of the Earth's axis. Not in OCLC.


Puteshestvie iz Peterburga v Moskvu [Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow]

By Radishchev, Aleksandr Nikolaevich

Moscow: Detskaia Literatura, 1970. Hardcover. Forth edition; 6 x 8; pp. [2], 3-239, [1]; vloth-backed pictorial boards; some rubbing to corners; mild uniform age-toning to pages; very good or better. Aleksandr Radishchev (1749-1802) was a Russian social critic and author who was said to have brought radicalism to Russian literature. The first edition of his current book, describing the socio-economic conditions in Russia and criticizing serfdom, was published in 1790 and immediately condemned by Catherine the Great. The Queen ordered the entire printing to be confiscated and destroyed and of the 650 copies 17 survived (they were smuggled to England and reprinted in 1840). For daring to write it, the author was sentenced to death. The sentence was later reversed to exile in Siberia after Radishchev begged forgiveness of Catherine the Great and publicly disowning his book. A second edition was not published until 1905.


Svoi Liudi—Sochtemsia. Originalʹnaia Komedīia v Chetyrekh Deistviiakh

By Ostrovskii, Aleksandr

Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel'stvo Detskoi Literatury, 1956. Hardcover. First edition thus; 5 1/4 x 8 1/4; pp. [4], 5-96; cloth-backed pictorial boards; some rubbing to extreme edges of covers and corners; pages with light uniform age-toning; small signature to upper margin of first free page; few spots to back cover; illustrated in b&w;very good condition. Alexander Ostrovsky (1823-1886) was a Russian playwright, considered by many to be the most important representative of the Russian Realistic Period. He began writing his current play in 1846 under the title 'The Bankrupt' parts of which were published in an issue of 'Moskovsky Gorodskoi Listok.' The work was finished in 1849 but censorship pressure forced the title to be changed to the present 'It's a Family Affair - We'll Settle It Ourselves.' The play portraying the uncultured and self-important merchant class brought Ostrovsky instant fame in Moscow. It also caused his being dubbed a troublemaker, getting placed under the secret police's supervision, and his work being banned from production and performance on the Imperial Theater's stage. Nowadays, his dramas are some of the most beloved and frequently performed stage pieces in Russia.


Zanimatel’naia Zoologiia. Ocherki I Rasskazy o Zhivotnykh

By Tsinger, Ia. A.

Moscow: Gos. Uchebno-Pedagog. Izd-vo Ministerstva Prosveshcheniia RSFSR, 1957. First edition; 7 x 9; purple cloth-backed boards; embossed gilt decoration to front cover; some rubbing to corners and a spot of discoloration to upper corner of back cover; small gift inscription to title page; profusely illustrated with engravings and full-page color plates; very good or better. Appropriately titled “Interesting Zoology,†the book allows children a fascinating glimpse of the animal world.


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