Measuring 8 1/2 inches wide x 11 3/4 inches long, this brightly colored, all original, copyright 1931, Little Black Sambo Puzzle by acclaimed American children's illustrator, Fern Bisel Peat, is in very good condition! This very rarely-found puzzle attracts additional interest due to the unusual, geometric, highly angular cut of the individual puzzle pieces- suggesting a very strong Art Deco influence!
This puzzle rendition of Little Black Sambo depicts Sambo strutting out into the jungle dressed in his newly acquired outfit complete with shade umbrella- all of which is soon to attract the attention of those nasty tigers! This scene has been taken directly from the 1931 copyright, softcover, large folio, Little Black Sambo book illustrated by Fern Bisel Peat and published by The Harter Publishing Company, Educational Publishers, Cleveland Ohio. It is likely that both the puzzle and the book were released to the public at the same time. They were intended for use in the school setting, grades K-2, as well as in the home. The aforementioned large folio Little Black Sambo Book is also available for purchase on this website (type Sambo into the SEARCH box).
Ready to be framed, the puzzle has retained all of the brilliance of its original colors and also sports the artist signature of Fern Bisel Peat in the upper right hand corner. Slight and subtle edge wear to some puzzle pieces as noted in photo. A wonderful addition to one’s Little Black Sambo collection by this highly sought-after, renowned American children's illustrator!
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!