We developed a love of Russian children's illustration when we stocked the wonderful Redstone Russian dairy last year. So, we were thrilled when copies of this new book by Redstone Press arrived at the Polite office. 'Inside the Rainbow: Beautiful books, terrible times' presents a series of stunning images specifically covering the period from 1920 to 1935 – shortly after the Russian revolution of 1917 – more than 250 examples of illustration and design are featured alongside translations of poems and stories that originally appeared next to them.
In his introduction Philip Pullman writes:
'What a treasury! The world of Russian children’s illustrated books in the first twenty years or so of Soviet rule is almost incomparably rich. What were they doing, these commissars and party secretaries, to allow this wonderland of modern art to grow under their very noses? I expect the rule that applies to children’s books was just as deeply interiorised in the Soviet Union as it has been in the rest of the world: they don’t matter. They can be ignored. They’re not serious.
But if we didn’t know it already, we can see from the evidence so splendidly spread out in these pages that children’s books are capable of astonishing beauty and an almost unparalleled range of expressive design.'
You can buy copies of this new book from the usual good bookshops, and from our website by clicking here.