Friday, September 04, 2009

Cole's Funny Pictures

Cole's Funny Picture books were a Melbourne based publication full of strangely entertaining pictures for children, and accompanying text which often encouraged reading and and moral behavior. Several generations of Australian children have grown up with these fascinating books. They don't make them like this any more! Here are two typical images and an atypical image from one of the books.

Our Studious Pussy
Anthropomorphic animals have always been popular. Images of animals and people reading were used throughout the books, to encourage literacy in children. W. Cole ran two book arcades: the first in Melbourne and the second in Sydney.

Banyan Tree: A mystery of the dark continent.
Find out horse, camel, elephant, giraffe, kangaroo, & monkey.

Pictures with hidden animals and people as well as optical illusions are always of interest.

French incubator for rearing weakly babies.
This one is weird yet it's an atypically factual representation rather than fancy. I wonder if these inspired the saying 'a bun on the oven'!

Images from: Cole's Pleasant Learning Land (Child Land or Pleasing Poems for Pretty Pets) Number Two, Melbourne, 1900.

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