Our Notes & References
The golden age of the Soviet book art: celebrating the diversity and future victories of the Proletarian International struggling for equality and justice.
A lovely copy with no restoration: rare in this condition.
The book presents four children from different parts of the world: China, Africa, India and Soviet Union. The families from the first three countries experience the oppression imposed on them by Western capitalist empires: each child’s mother sings a lullaby, lamenting over her own or her husband’s discriminatory work conditions. The father of an African child, for instance, is shown at work from early morning till late night loading a cargo ship under the supervision of a white industrialist. Each family is hopeful that their son’s generation will unite and redress this inequality, and the mother of the Soviet child — who is purported to live in a world of complete equality — reminds him to not forget to help his brothers from other countries in their struggle for freedom.
This collection of lullabies by the poetess Agniia Barto (1906-81) proved to be a great success from its very first edition in 1928: by 1939, it was republished 12 times with a total circulation of about 2,000,000 copies and was translated into 29 languages. Barto soon became one of the most famous children’s book authors in her homeland. The first ten editions were illustrated by the painter and cartoonist Georgii Echeistov (1897-1946); starting from the 9th edition (1935) the artist created new illustrations for the book. In this fourth edition, Echeistov uses radiantly bright colours and dynamic, sprawling brushstrokes rendering the poems’ main characters and their settings.