(Paris): Flammarion Editeur, 1934. Large quarto, measuring 9.25 by 10.75, staple-bound, original stiff color pictorial wrappers. Twenty-four pages printed in green, with two red and blue sheets of card punched with die-cut shapes (all intact). Small price label to corner of lower wrapper. Light shelfwear to wrappers, occasional touch of foxing.
First edition of this early livre-jeu, one of a pioneering series of modernist activity books issued by Flammarion in the 1930s. Created largely by a group of Soviet emigrés, including Nathalie Parain, Feodor Rojankovsky, and Alexandra Exter, the Albums de Père Castor introduced a strong Russian Constructivist aesthetic into French children’s publishing. Wischnevsky’s text encourages children to create compositions with cut-paper shapes, starting with simple objects (a key, a pitcher, a bunch of grapes) and working up to busy action scenes with multiple figures. In the end, children are encouraged to design their own collages, the ultimate game: “Et ce sera le vrai jeu.” A near-fine example of a scarce book, with the publisher’s original cut paper shapes still intact.