In When Life Was Simpler, pages of pictures have been reproduced, frequently with their text, from a variety of school readers from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. A brief text explores the themes such as home, school and friends, but the focus of the book is the wealth of charming illustrations. When Life Seemed Simpler features images from more than seventy children’s readers.
There are a large collection of school readers, including, but hardly limited to, the familiar Dick and Jane books, and find their contents fascinating. Each generation embodies its hopes for its children in the schoolbooks they encourage into existence. There are significant changes of emphasis from decade to decade, but there are also many common themes. Though many people deride these old schoolbooks, claiming that their idealistic projections have little or nothing to do with real life, Darling, the editor, finds them frequently illuminating and touching. He grants they present a utopian vision, but points out that good models set forth for young people are critical in the formation of their characters.
Anyone with an enthusiasm for old children’s books, or merely for times past, will delight in this book.
8.75" x 6.5"