What Shall We Read To The Children: Treasure's from the Hunt Collection of Children's Literature
Chicken World • The Farm BookPocahontas and Capt. John SmithThe Railroad BookThe Seashore Book


Chicken World, drawn by E. Boyd Smith (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1910). One of two picture books Smith published in 1910, Chicken World shows the artist at his most playful and graphically bold. Departing from literal fact for the sake of amusing a younger audience that he aimed for with Pocahontas, Smith here spins a yarn about a headstrong mother hen who, through a combination of happenstance and stubborn devotion, ends up raising a mixed brood of chicks and ducklings. And what a very good mother she proves to be.

Smith's arresting minimalist cover design hints at lessons limned during the artist's time in France, when the poster art of Toulouse Lautrec, Jules Chéret, and others was defining a new, faster-paced language of visual communication. The borders that frame the interior illustrations serve both as decoration and as an ingenious calendar device that relates the young barnyard birds’ month-by-month progress to the larger rhythms of seasonal change. Meanwhile, delightful surprise touches throughout reveal an illustrator committed to stretching the limits of his chosen art form, and to having a grand time while doing so.



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