Paris: Chez Marcilly [Imprimerie de A. Firmin Didot], [n.d., ca. 1820-1840]. First edition. With 11 engraved plates of animals including a lion, a deer, a peacock, a swan, and a goldfinch. Also with an engraving of a bear climbing a tree on title-page. Extremities rubbed and some cracking to hinges. Binding thread visible at gutter. Some light foxing, but pages and plates are largely clean. Overall a very good, tight copy of a scarce book, in the original pictorial paper-covered slipcase. Original bright green pictorial boards with engraved images of animals and a decorative border. Lettered in black on spine. All edges gilt. 2 inches by 2 inches. 127 pp. Item #16929
Le Petit Naturaliste contains descriptions of over 100 animals (including bears, porcupines, zebras, pigeons, and turtles) written for children. The entries detail the animals’ habitats, their physical characteristics, their diets, and other interesting facts. In addition, each animal is used to illustrate a moral virtue, like the courage of the lion (pp. 15-17) and the maternal care of the stork (pp. 87-88).
Chez Marcilly published children’s books, mostly in miniature, in Paris during the first half of the nineteenth century. Their Le Petit series included, other than Le Petit Naturaliste, miniature reprintings of fables, songs, and poems like Le Petit Momus (1833) and Le Petit Anacreon (1831) for a juvenile audience. We could not find any information on the writer or illustrator of Le Petit Naturaliste.