This is an amazing collection of Early Soviet children's book illustrations in the very few years of Bolshevism (1920-1935)when a new society was to be built from scratch. It was a time which was marked by great optimism and idealism and a time when artists wanted to be part of this great new ideology.
Chukovsky set up a publishers called 'Raduga' (rainbow) and he and Marshak attracted prominent avant-garde writers, artists and designers to 'Raduga', including pioneers of constructivism, suprematism and futurism. The group included the poet Osip Mandelstam, the constructivist playwright Sergei Tretyakov, Vladimir Mayakovsky and Daniil Kharms.
Artists and writers were charged with producing a children's literature based on the real world: workers, industry, technology, transport, food, everyday objects, animals and buildings and they did this with an exuberant inventiveness and lyricism. Philosophy, pragmatism, good citizenship and science are conveyed with such beauty and are so aesthetically pleasing that it is amazing to think that in a story about electricity: M Makhalov's photomontaged illustrations in 'The Journey Inside the Electric Lamp', could be so cinematic and filled with such high drama and adventure. Many of the illustrations use spare, bold geometric shapes with the muted primary colours of constructivism and these dance alongside stories and rhymes about Soviet Life. The printing technology and palette of colours is very specific to the way that the images are constructed. This is a fantastic source book, a book that I will return to for inspiration again and again and one that any one interested in illustration, printmaking, graphics or typography should read.