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Cinderella at the Zoo by Bessie and Nancy Parker first edition 1917

Cinderella at the Zoo by Bessie and Nancy Parker first edition 1917


London: W. & R. Chambers, Limited, [1917].


Large 4to., gray publisher’s boards, stunningly decorated with printed design featuring a camel, giraffe and bear to the upper board, and a penguin to the lower; lettered along spine, featuring the glass slipper; preserved, highly unusually, in the original repeat dust jacket; unpaginated [pp. lxiv]; text and line drawings throughout, printed in brown; complete with all 16 full-page and full-colour illustrations showing the animals in their various roles; slight creasing along spine, and rubbing to extremities; endpapers mildly offset; previous bookseller’s sticker discretely applied to inner gutter of front paste down; the jacket, seldom found at all, here with some short closed tears (repaired internally with archival tape); verso a little spotted, and some minor chipping to spine ends, with less than 1 cm of loss. A remarkable example. 


First Edition. 


A charming children’s book, in which the animals at London Zoo decide to put on a performance of Cinderella. Featured in the leading roles are the Llama, a ‘horrid beast’, as the evil step-mother; the marmoset fairy godmother; the armadillo coachman and the ‘youngest, gentlest, brownest bear’ as Prince Charming. Cinderella is played by a Korin Gazelle. 


The Parker sisters, Bessie and Nancy, together wrote and illustrated a number of children’s books in the early half of the twentieth century. Most of these featured animals, including Arctic Orphans - about three young polar bears cast adrift from their parents - History of the Hoppers - featuring a family of kangaroos - and Lays of the Grays - the adventures of a group of elephants. This present example, however, is one of the most illustrious, with the glorious illustrations featuring a whole host of exotic animals. 


Even as late as the 1990s, little was known about the Parker sisters, and it was even unclear if they were men or women. However, in 1996 a letter surfaced at Sotheby’s  auction house, in which the sisters presented their aunt with one of their new books, and their identities were revealed. 


Superb in the original dust jacket. 

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