Balderdash! John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books Written by Michelle Markel, Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Balderdash! John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books is one of these books that John Newbery himself would have loved.

Smack at the first page, children are welcomed with, “This book is for you..”

Without reading any farther, author Michelle Markel manages in just a few words to encompass Newbery’s philosophy that children’s books should be for children, not for their parents, teachers or care takers.

A little contemporary looking girl is turning the page to reveal in trompe ll’oeil rendering, more pages in the book. She is taking us back to 1726 when children had to read preachy poems and religious texts “that made them fear that death was near…”

Until, a young lad grew up to champion children’s books as we know them today.

Lucky, lucky reader.” says Markel.

Illustrator Nancy Carpenter has done a magnificent job depicting 1726 London’s street scene and Markel’s narration and language is so authentic that at one point, I almost felt like one of those little nippers, handling coppers to street hawkers for “ugly chapbooks of fairy tales and chopped-up versions of grown-up books.”

Jhon Newbery goes on to establish a book store in London. He displays his books at his store window wondering, “Will the parents buy them? Are they too…cheerful?

But Jhon’s courage and determination pays off. “The children gobbled them like plum cakes.” And so, the age of charming, exciting, inspiring and heart warming children books, magazines and novels has begun.

Markel dishes out an extra treat by inserting a story within a story, introducing today’s young readers to Goody Good Two-Shoes and other beloved books, published by John Newbery.

The typography and cream-color paper let the reader feel and almost smell the ink at the old print shop where John got his start.

Lucky , lucky readers indeed.

This book is…




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