New York: American Book Company, 1896.
First Edition. Hardcover. This approachable and charmingly type-set 1896 guide to botany for children is the work of Frances Theodora Parsons (1861–1952), author of How to Know the Wild Flowers, the first field guide to North American wildflowers, with cheerful and admiring illustrations throughout, drawn by her sister, the artist Alice Josephine Smith (1859–1909). In six sections devoted to the key components of plants--fruits and seeds, young plants, roots and stems, buds, leaves, and flowers, Frances Theodora Parsons seems to stroll through the countryside with the child-reader at her side, emanating a kind of no-nonsense wonder for nature and plant-life rather summed up in the final and seventh section, "Learning to See": "This world is full of things that are beautiful and interesting, things that do not cost money, that can be had for the seeing." Parsons goes on to describe a long and lovely walk filled with all the wonderful visions of nature, bright flowers and lovely-colored butterflies, buzzing bees and singing birds, darting rabbits and scolding squirrels... "Well, I have taken just such a walk; and on going into the house I have felt as if I were obliged to put aside a book of enchanting fairy stories, or rather as if I were turning my back on fairyland itself, with all its wonderful sights and sounds and adventures." Open your eyes, Plants and Their Children would admonish us all, and see fairyland all about you.
7 1/2" X 5 1/4". 272pp. Taupe cloth over boards, with botanical Art Nouveau design stamped in green to upper board and spine, both lettered in green, with publisher's device in kind to rear board. This publisher's cloth binding is unsigned, but resembles the work of the great Margaret Armstrong in many ways, who designed the bindings for several of the author's other works. Moderate wear to binding, with some soiling to cloth, fraying to head and tail of spine, and extremities threadbare in some places. Previous owner's name to front pastedown, with pencilled notes to flyleaf. Binding is sound, if a little shaken. Pages bear the very occasional pencilled mark, else clean. Good +. Item #5755