New York: George H. Doran Company, 1925. Item #04247
The Rarest of the Limited Edition Rackham Books
Limited to 105 Copies
[RACKHAM, Arthur, illustrator]. BIANCO, Margery Williams. Poor Cecco. By Margery Williams Bianco. Author of "The Velveteen Rabbit." Illustrated by Arthur Rackham. New York: George H. Doran Company, .
First edition, deluxe large paper issue. One of 105 numbered copies (this one out-of-series and unsigned).
Quarto (11 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches; 292 x 216 mm.). 175 pp. Seven full-page illustrations in color, mounted on white paper, and twenty-four drawings in black and white.
Original parchment-backed light blue paper boards, navy blue lettering label on spine. Pictorial endpapers in pale blue on white. Top edge gilt, others uncut. Slight cracking to upper inner hinge, otherwise, a fine copy.
This, the rarest of all the Rackham limited editions was actually never signed by Rackham. The 105 copies were numbered and signed by Margery Williams Bianco, this copy however apparently escaped the signing process.
The text, with the same illustrations by Rackham, also appeared in Good Housekeeping beginning in May 1925. No limited English edition was issued, and this title/edition is the rarest of Rackham illustrated books, and extremely scarce.
"The Velveteen Rabbit or How Toys Become Real was Margery Williams Bianco's first American work, and it remains her most famous. It became an instant classic and has remained so through numerous adaptations in children's theater as well as on radio, television and in the movies. After becoming a renowned author, Bianco wrote numerous other children's books, with her son becoming the namesake of one of them, 1925's Poor Cecco: The Wonderful Story of a Wonderful Wooden Dog Who Was the Jolliest Toy in the House Until He Went Out to Explore the World—a distinguished book that belies its somewhat priggish subtitle and is arguably better entitled than The Velveteen Rabbit to status as a classic. This lively adventure story, virtually a novel for children, is a brilliant exception to the sentimentality of Bianco's more famous book. Each of the many characters who populate the nursery toy cupboard is a distinct and amusing personality. Their interactions with each other and with the human, animal, and toy members of the world beyond it, whom they encounter on their quest for adventure/search for a lost friend, are delineated with understated humor. The relationship between the wooden dog Cecco, a natural leader, and Jensina, a highly independent and spirited wooden doll, is both subtle and funny. Superb illustrations by Arthur Rackham are a perfect complement to the narrative. While the publisher probably found it more practical to promote the shorter Velveteen Rabbit, Cecco's celebrated illustrator may have assured its survival in the catalogues of rare book dealers despite its undeserved literary obscurity. A return to more sober themes marks Bianco's other popular works, such as the same year's The Little Wooden Doll, illustrated by her daughter Pamela, in which the title character is badly mistreated by some children, but shown love and compassion by another child, which made her whole again." (Wikipedia)
Latimore and Haskell, p. 59; Riall, p. 155.