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“A hundred years ago, in 1919, the first Children’s Book Week was celebrated in the United States. Now, in honor of the centennial, the Library of Congress has made available a free online collection of a hundred children’s books from a century ago or more.
Take a look at “The Rocket Book,” by Peter Newell, an important American illustrator, published in 1912, and enjoy the way the rocket, set off by young Fritz in the basement of a building, travels up through the many different apartments on the floors above. “The book has a hole in every one of the pages where the rocket bursts a hole through the floor,” said Lee Ann Potter, the director of the learning and innovation office at the Library of Congress. “It’s so tactile and yet so old.”
Or check out “The Cats’ Party,” from 1871, which reveals in rhyme and rich illustration just what happens when the humans go away. “The antics of these kittens are as funny today as in the middle of the 19th century,” Ms. Potter said. “There’s value in that too, to realize that what we enjoy today was enjoyed by our ancestors.””
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