Note to readers: Yesterday (25 May) some of you may have received a version of this post. That version was pulled back shortly after publishing due to multiple problems with how the images were loading. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused you. Chris Schwarz very kindly ran the images through his design software to straighten out the problem.
In early April I wrote a short post about two Russian children’s books published in the 1920s. One book was titled “Table” (about making a table) and the other was a fairy tale about a handplane making another handplane. Both books are in the Special Collections of the University of Washington Libraries. You can read the original post here.
Published in 1927, “How a Handplane Made a Handplane: A Fairy Tale” was written by Samuil Iakovlevich Marshak, considered to be the founder of Russian children’s literature. The illustrations are by Vladimir Vasil’evich Lebednev who introduced bright and bold graphics and changed the design of children’s literature. Together they produced an appealing tale for both children and adults.
Without a translation it is possible to partially figure out the plot. The book opens with a handplane, tools are introduced, a tree is felled and another handplane is made. With a translation a door is opened to the voices of the handplane and the other tools and you learn why a second handplane is made.
My translation is in prose. Although rhyming poetry is common in children’s books (and kids love it), I am not up to translating poems from one language to another, much less rhyming poems! Nevertheless, it is a charming story and I hope you enjoy it.
You can read the individual pages below. If you want to print and assemble your own book with a two-page spread you can download a pdf using this link: