London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1900, 1893.
Hardcover. This charming pair of educational fairy books are the work of “A.L.O.E.” (A Lady of England), the prolific writer and missionary Charlotte Maria Tucker (1821-1893). In Fairy Know-A-Bit a “spoilt little boy” and his companion learn a thing or two from the scholarly Fairy Know-A-Bit who lives in his library and teaches him all the wonders of learning, from the sun and stars to the invention of the steam engine, touching on matters moral and historical. In instructing the spoiled boy on how the taken-for-granted comforts around him came to be, Fairy Know-a-Bit touches quite candidly on the history of slavery and celebrates emancipation—slavery was abolished in England about 50 years prior to the publication of this book, in 1833. In the sequel, Fairy Frisket; or, Peeps at Insect Life, Know-A-Bit’s sister, the lady-fairy Frisket, who has not abandoned rural life as her bookish brother has, comes to instruct the boy and his friend on the wonders of woodland life among the ants and caterpillars and butterflies, all through the power of her magical "fancy pomatum," a pomade rubbed on the temples, which instills each boy's mind into that of the insects they very experientially learn about, including entering an ant-hill "city" in the shape of ants and joining a butterfly ball. Both volumes are beautifully and charmingly illustrated throughout and full of lush descriptions both of fairies and of the world around us, each uniting magic and morality, curiosity and knowledge. Brother and sister fairy books, uncommon in matching bindings.
7 1/8" X 5 1/8". viii, [i], 10-196pp, plus four pages of ads; vi, [iii], 10-195pp, plus one page index and ten pages of ads for related books. Bound in dark blue and lighter blue cloth respectively, with floral decorations in black to upper board and spine and lettering in gilt, with lower boards stamped in blind. Reather heavy wear to bindings, with corners bumped, rubbed, and turned in, fraying and small tears to tails of spines, and scattered rubbing. Foxing, toning, and spots of heavy rubbing to endpapers of Fairy Know-A-Bit, with prize inscription, awarded to Florence Ostley for regular attendance, dated 1900. Fairy Frisket lacking patterned front free endpaper. Hinges very tender, some gatherings uneven, and text block shaken to Fairy Know-A-Bit, with binding reinforced with binder's glue and spine visible at several juctures. Hinges tender and slight lean to spine of Fairy Frisket. Occasional smudge or spot of foxing to pages, else unmarked. Both volumes thoroughly illustrated in frontispieces, black-and-white full-page engravings, and vignettes and initials at the beginning of each chapter. Fair. Item #6277