London [and] New York: Ernest Nister [and] E.P. Dutton & Co., . Item #04487
"Jumbo's come, so take a ride
On his back, both broad and wide…"
SHAPE-BOOK. Jumbo. London [and] New York: Ernest Nister [and] E.P. Dutton & Co. n.d., ca. 1895.
Quarto ( 7 3/8 x 8 1/8 inches; 187 x 206 mm.). Sixteen unnumbered pages including covers. Eight pages with color chromolithograph illustrations, six pages with black & white illustrations.
Publishers red roan backstrip over color chromolithograph stiff card wrappers, front cove with 'Jumbo' the Elephant with five children on his back, being led by the elephant trainer. Backstrip and top extremity of covers a fraction worn, otherwise a fine and remarkable survival of this child's playbook. Neat early ink inscription on first page.
A 'Shape-Book' is a product of a form of die-cutting, in which a book is cut into a specific shape - rather than your typical rectangle or even square, these books can be shaped into whatever figure the designer fancies - a fire engine, an artist's palette, or even an elephant. Imagination is the only limit. Still common in children's books today, shape books came into fashion in the 19th and early 20th centuries. One of the first publishers to put out shape books was the London firm of Ernest Nister. The Victorian-era shape books such as the present title, have become highly sought-after by collectors and are generally quite scarce.