Among the treasures that reside in the Special Collections section of the Children’s Department are facsimiles of selected rare items from the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books at the Toronto Public Library. This set of reproductions printed in 1981, provides a remarkable sampling of a wide scope of children’s literature.
One of the smallest items is a slipcase contacting three chapbooks. Little books such as theses were popular in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries with topics including
children’s literature, politics, religion, and poetry.
There is also a facsimile of the 1766 edition of the well-known Goody Two-Shoes that tells the tale of the orphan, Margaret Meanwell. Through her hard work and good character she perseveres, despite her circumstances. In the story she has only one shoe, and when she is given a pair she exclaims that she has two shoes, thus the famous phrase “Goody Two-Shoes.”
The Nursery Alice is a shortened version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland “with text adapted to nursery readers by Lewis Carroll.” Published originally in 1889, it contains twenty color illustrations by John Tenniel. The Baby’s Own Aesop by Walter Crane transforms these famous fables into a limerick style with masterful illustrations.
These and all reference materials from the Children’s Department Special Collections are available to view during library hours.