Dundee [&] London: Valentine & Sons, Ltd., 1921. Item #03038
A Remarkable Survival
[WAIN, Louis]. [MOVEABLE BOOK]. [PRIMER]. Tiny Folks First Spelling Book. Dundee [&] London: Valentine & Sons, Ltd., .
First and only edition. Oblong quarto (9 9/16 x 12 inches; 243 x 305 mm.).  pp. Full-color title-page and 72 text drawings of various animals and objects, many in full-color, the rest in two color.
Original color pictorial boards. Front cover with an amazing full-color 'classroom' drawing by Louis Wain of three kittens, two dogs and their feline teacher who is pointing to a large blackboard. The front cover has three rotating wheels on the top edge and a fourth rotating wheel on the lower edge. Board edges and corners with very slight wear. A remarkable survival.
"Valentines "Something-to-learn" series… B382" (back cover).
"Instructions. This book will help you to spell.
There are three wheels of complete Alphabets on the Cover, so that by moving them round to the letters you want you will be able to spell any word of three letters. The bottom wheel has twelve pictures. See if you know the name, and then spell it out on the wheels. The A B C contains pictures of three letters only -- except Q -- which has five." (title-page).
We have never seen this book before. The delightful front cover illustration is most likely the only one by Louis Wain. The rest of the pictures are by an unidentified artist.
At the end of the nineteenth century, Louis Wain (1860-1939), the Edwardian cat artist who went mad, became a household name as an illustrator of cats, whom he depicted in all sorts of activities, from skating and playing cricket to driving motor cars, attending dances, and playing musical instruments. “He invented a cat style, a cat society, a whole cat world. English cats that do not look like Louis Wain cats are ashamed of themselves” (H.G. Wells).
“From 1883, Wain began to draw cats as they had never been drawn before, cats in humorous guises, in human situations, but always beautifully handled…although he was sometimes forced to draw dogs before he became well-known!” (Houfe, The Dictionary of British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists 1800-1914).
Opie, Primers, etc. Post 1850, GC 138.