Children’s literature is big business these days. Just go to any mega-chain bookstore and check out the square footage devoted to the kids. It’s fantastic that there are so many options for young readers, but the popularity of children’s literature is hardly a new phenomenon.
The bookn3rd blog, which focuses on book history, has some great links and commentary for rare children’s book scans from the early 20th century. My favorite is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s A Wonder Book For Girls & Boys, from 1893. The color plates (see the thumbnail to the right) by noted illustrator Walter Crane are absolutely amazing.
Rare Children’s Books at the Library of Congress (from bookn3rd.com)