Measuring 9 1/2 inches wide x 13 inches long, this brightly colored, copyright 1931, Little Black Sambo, large softcover book illustrated by acclaimed American children's illustrator, Fern Bisel Peat, is very rarely found!
Published by The Harter Publishing Company, Educational Publishers, Cleveland Ohio, this book along with a companion puzzle which features one of the illustrations from this book, were likely released to the public at the same time. Both the book and puzzle were intended for use in the school setting, grades K-2, as well as in the home. The aforementioned Little Black Sambo puzzle is also available for purchase on this website (type Sambo into the SEARCH box).
This story is a much-beloved children's classic written in the early 1900's by Englishwoman, Helen Bannerman, for her two daughters while they lived in India. Sambo, in the original Bannerman tale, was an Indian boy and not an African-American child. He was converted to this race overtime, however, by subsequent story tellers and illustrators. This age-old tale tells of Little Black Sambo and his frightening tiger encounter, which fortunately, has a happy ending!
Condition is an 8.5 out of 10! This unnumbered, softcover book has seen little use with just a teeny bit of wear to book edges and very small creases here and there on the covers which do not effect structural integrity. The eight large folio, color illustrations retain their intensely vibrant hues and are simply just spectacular, and they alternate with lovely black ink line drawings. (My camera did not do justice to the intensity of color, washing it out.) An inked inscription is present on the inside front cover. The front and back covers have separated completely from the staple binding; there is separation of book pages only at the following point: below the lower of the two remaining staples. The third and lowest staple is missing.
Despite these imperfections, this rarely found,soft-cover, children's book is in amazing condition given its 90 years of age!
Fern Bisel Peat, 1893-1971, was born in in Erie, Pennsylvania, and went to public schools in Elyria. She attended Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, graduating with a degree in fine arts. Marrying Frank Peat in 1917 and settling in northern Ohio, Fern soon began painting children’s murals in both public and private venues.
As her work grew in popularity in the 1920's, she was asked to design children's wallpaper for a Cleveland company, designing a set of Mother Goose wall panels that sold widely. She soon was approached by the Saalfield Publishing Company where she went on to illustrate over 60 children's books!
From 1933 to 1955 she was editor and chief illustrator for Children’s Play Mate magazine, published in Cleveland, and nearly all of the covers during that time period feature her illustrations.
As the major breadwinner for the Bisel Peat family, Fern found every way possible to market her work to publishers, advertising firms and toy makers during the lean years of the American Depression and World War II. As a result, her distinctive children's illustrations can not only be found within children's books of the era, but also on holiday decorations, paper fans, playing cards, rag dolls, tin toys…not to mention coloring books, puzzles, paper doll books, and greeting cards!
To see all of the Little Black Sambo items currently available for sale, simply type “Sambo” into the search box on our website homepage.