toy book

kind of book published in England, predecessor to or early kind of children's picture book

Toy books were illustrated children's books that became popular in England's Victorian era. The earliest toy books were typically paperbound, with six illustrated pages and sold for sixpence; larger and more elaborate editions became popular later in the century. In the mid-19th century picture books began to be made for children, with illustrations dominating the text rather than supplementing the text.The earliest toy books were hand painted, but in the mid-19th century London publishing house Dean & Son began printing toy books using chromolithography to colour the illustrations. Edmund Evans was the premier engraver and printer of toy books in London from the mid-19th century to the early-20th century, producing books for Routledge, Warne & Routledge using the wood block printing technique of chromoxylography. He was instrumental in popularizing children's books through the production of toy books during this period. To illustrate the books he hired and collaborated with Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott and Kate Greenaway—known as the triumvirate of children's toy book illustrators.
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