May 28, 2013

Orbis Sensualium Pictus, The First Picture Book For Kids

Did you know that the first picture book designed for children was published in 1658?

I did not.


Orbis Sensualium Pictus, or The Visible World in Pictures, was published in Nuremburg by the Czech educator Comenius. Originally in German and Latin, it was soon translated into many multilingual editions across Europe.

Each of its 150 chapters contains a woodcut image and a key with straightforward descriptions of everything in it. It's basically an encyclopedia for kids. In Latin.

The English edition on Google Books has all those s's that look like f's, too, which makes the line about the "Mafter teaching the boy how to be wife" feem a little fketchy. But I guess this is how all those 18th century 2yos learned Latin, so download the pdf and ftart teaching!

Orbis Pictus [wikipedia via Juliette Lavie's Textimage article on Emmanuel Sougez]
Orbis Sensualium Pictus, 12th edition, 1777, translated by Charles Hoole [google books, available as pdf, too]

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