Section 7. Children’s Books and Games


1. The Magic Map Book: A Little Journey through Fairyland
May Byron (with illustrations by Alan Wright), 1908

Colorfully illustrated by Alan Wright, May Byron’s The Magic Map Book is a joyful guide through notable fairy landmarks and the folk one will find there. Our copy of The Magic Map Book is in well-loved condition, with an inscription on the front pages stating that it was “given as a reward for thirteen Sundays of perfect attendance” from the Friedens Evangelical Church. Included as a fold-out frontispiece, Alan Wright’s pictorial “Map of Fairyland: A Country of Strange and Wonderful Places, Fairies, Witches, Dragons & Giants” depicts the main characters of the story (Dicky and Gwen) dressed in their night clothes and being led off the Fairyland Ferry (a paper boat) and being guided by a fairy into a castle. The map contains archetypes common to many fairy tales–pirates, princesses, witches, giants, and dragons–as well as specific references to familiar stories like Jack and the Beanstalk. Wright’s illustrations throughout the book provide a closer look at individual locations on the map, paired with the childrens’ wild adventures.

2. The Magic Map
Mary Graham Bonner (with illustrations by Luxor Price), 1927

“This Book Is Dedicated to Latitude
And Longitude, the Equator, Compass,
North Temperate Zone and a Number
of Others in the Magic Map’s Family
—Because I don’t Believe They Ever
Have Had a Book Dedicated to Them

The endpapers of The Magic Map are strikingly illustrated to showcase the bold and enchanting map elements at the heart of this unique geographical fantasy. Much like Alice avoiding her studies and dreaming away to Wonderland, young David, the main character, lazily procrastinates with his geography lesson at the start of The Magic Map. What ensues is an otherworldly journey through a cartographic dreamscape that educates young readers about the rudimentary concepts of geography in fantastical fashion–the author’s attempt to make the study of geography as fun and educational as travel itself. Price, a self-taught Welsh-born illustrator who lived and worked in New York, illustrated numerous books by Bonner, including the related titles Magic Journey (1928) and The Magic Universe (1930).

3. Butter-Scotia, or A Cheap Trip to Fairyland
Edward Abbott Perry
With illustrations by Archie Macgregor, 1896

Butter-scotia is part of a Victorian era fantasy series by the English Judge and dramatist Edward Abbott Parry that centers on children traveling to fantastic lands. A sequel to Katawampus: Its Treatement and Cure, this title is regarded as a less-psychedelic version of Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. A tipped-in map of Butter-Scotia (a play on the word butterscotch) is included at the beginning of the novel, and, as one might imagine, depicts an imagined land filled with places and geographical features named after treats that would have appealed to Victorian-era British children, including: Caramel Mountains, Treacle River, Toffee Bay, and Cocanut Iceland to name a few. Like many maps drawn to accompany fictional narratives, the imagined landscapes mirror real-life (to a certain extent), with golf links, lighthouses, castles and cottages dotting the landscape, just as they would have in rural England.

4. The Children’s Fairy Geography, or, A Merry Trip Round Europe
Forbes E. Winslow, 1880

Reverend Forbes E. Winslow, the Vicar of Epping, published his whimsical children’s geography in 1880. Profusely illustrated with drawings and maps, the embossed cover featuring a globe is a beautiful example of Victorian book design. In the book the three characters at the center of the tale, two children and an elderly gentleman, travel throughout Europe by various magical means of transportation, including a wishing-carpet and electric boots that allow the wearer to fly through the air. In the 1880 edition of The Christmas Bookseller, W. Skeffington & Sons, the publisher, advertised the book as: “The best Christmas, Birthday, or Holiday gift-book, school prize, &c. this day,” noting that not only was the book full of interesting tales and adventures, but also served as an “accurate and valuable School of Nursery Geography.” The Children’s Fairy Geography was published in sixteen editions, and was followed by The Children’s Fairy History of England. Forbes was one of the leaders of the Gospel Temperance Movement in England and also published extensively on religious issues.

5. Grimm’s Fairy Tales: And Other Wonderful Stories Retold for Our Little Boys and Girls of Today
Juvenile Publishing Co., 1898

The Brothers Grimm published their first collection of folklore and fairy tales, Children’s and Household Tales, in Germany in 1812. Over the years, Grimm’s Fairy Tales have classically warned youth of the dangers of the world through their dark retellings of European folk stories. This edition, from our recently donated Kendall Collection of Children’s Literature, was edited to be more palatable to the “gentle nature of children” by removing some of the more frightening elements of the classic fairy tales and highlighting Victorian-era virtues that were popular in the writing of that time. The charming illustrations and color plates throughout the book embody the gentle tone of the stories within. Characters from Grimm’s tales populate many of the fairy land maps in this exhibition, and Bernard Sleigh cited the Brothers Grimm as a key inspiration for his expansive map at the beginning of the exhibition.

6. Map of the Marvelous Land of Oz
L. Frank Baum, 1920

This pictorial map of the Marvelous Land of Oz depicts the setting for L. Frank Baum’s popular series of children’s books. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was first published in 1900, followed by The Marvelous Land of Oz in 1904. By 1920, when this map was issued by Reilly & Lee, there were 14 books in the series (the last one, published posthumously in 1920, being Glinda of Oz). Unlike in the 1939 MGM movie The Wizard of Oz, where Oz is but a figment of Dorothy’s imagination, Baum conceptualized the Country of Oz as a real place, a hidden fairy land separated from the real world by the “Deadly Desert” located to the right of “Winkie Country.” Nonetheless, movie fans will find familiar sites on this map, including the Emerald City, the “Road of Yellow Brick,” the field of poppies, and many more!

7. The Wonderful World of Oz
Dick Martin, 1986
Courtesy of the Collection of Stephen Hornsby

The characters and settings of L. Frank Baum’s children’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, first published in 1900, continues to entrance readers today, and, alongside the famous films, to inspire artists to make maps of Oz. This relatively recent example appeared just a year after Disney’s theatrical release of “Return to Oz,” the unofficial sequel film to the 1929 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer classic, “Wizard of Oz.” Like the 1920s Map of Oz displayed elsewhere in the exhibition, Martin’s map displays the four quadrants of Oz (Gilliken Country in the north, Quadling Country in the south, Winkie Country in the west, and Munchkin Country in the east), as well as the Emerald City, Glinda’s Palace, Wogglebug College, the Shifting Sands, and Great Sandy Waste. The night sky and title scrolls echo those found in Jaro Hess’s masterful map of the Land of Make Believe.

8. Jimmy and Sally in Mother Goose Land
Jeffrey Victor and Neel Bate, 1945

Advertised as a “colorful 3 Foot Story-Map,” Jimmy and Sally in Mother Goose Land was sold for ten cents a copy at the end of World War II. The map included visual instructions for parents, who could “Read it to the kiddies,” “Show them the pictures,” or “Hang it on their wall.” These instructions, along with the title, could be cut off of the map if the user desired, so only the narrative would remain visible. The literal story-map begins on the lower right, where Jimmy and Sally stand on a path in front of a tree marked “Start Here,” and winds through a series of encounters with Mother Goose characters who would have been very familiar to many American children. Humpty Dumpty, Little Bo Peep, Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, Little Jack Horner, Little Boy Blue, Jack and Jill and others are met along the road, with the Victor’s text offering children brief moral and behavioral lessons and reminders at each stop (e.g. finish all of your food, take good care of your things, work hard, share with your friends, go to bed early, etc.). Mother Goose Land was also the subject of a popular Betty Boop cartoon short in 1933 where, notably, the characters come to life–just as they do on this story map.

9. Round the World with Nellie Bly (board game)
McLoughlin Brothers, 1890

The popular board game “Round the World with Nellie Bly” was first issued by the McLoughlin Brothers in 1890. The game melds and maps both fiction and reality, as players assume the persona of the journalist Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Cochran) as she attempts to break the fictional record of circumnavigating the world in eighty days set forth by Phileas Fogg and his valet, Passepartout, in French author Jules Vernes’ popular 1872 novel Around the World in 80 Days. In 1889, a year before the game was issued, New York World reporter Nellie Bly set out to break Fogg’s fictional record–and she did so–making it around the world in just 72 days, and meeting Jules Vernes in Amiens, France. The game is designed for 2-4 players, and each individual space represents a different day and location in Bly’s actual journey. The first player to reach New Jersey is declared the winner, greeted by fanfare and a record-breaking celebration.

10. Candy Land
Milton Bradley Company, 1955

Game boards like Candy Land can also serve as fantasy maps. Similar to other fantasy maps in the exhibition, two children travel down a colorful road that leads them “home” only after they have faced various obstacles such as the Candy Cane Forest, cherry pitfalls, and the Molasses Swamp. It may surprise some viewers to learn that this seemingly ubiquitous childhood game was, in fact, the result of the polio pandemic of the 1940s. Eleanor Abbott, a California school teacher, was recovering from a bout of polio in the children’s ward of a San Diego hospital when she first developed the game in the hopes of easing boredom and bringing cheer to her fellow patients. Quarantined children sometimes spent months in the hospital recovering from polio, where they were confined to their beds hour after hour, waiting for or receiving treatments in the iron lungs that lined the wards. In a world where nearly every movement of a child was restricted, Candy Land allowed them to move forward unencumbered (and play again, and again) with luck and chance guiding the way. Abbott pitched the game to Milton Bradley, and it quickly became their most successful title. Although the design of the board has changed slightly over the years, the rules of the game are remarkably similar to the original version, and Candy Land, now owned by Hasbro, still sells millions of copies each year (and still entertains children in pandemic quarantine and isolation).

Next Section: 8. Mapping Alternate Perceptions of the Past, Present, and Future