London: Methuen & Co., (1925). Slim folio, measuring 12 x 9.5 inches: , 34. Original tan cloth spine, brown paper boards, pictorial pastedown label to upper board, original pictorial dust jacket printed in cream and blue. Pictorial title page, 32 pages of sheet music illustrated with black-and-white vignettes. Lightest occasional smudge to jacket.
Early printing of this collection of A.A. Milne’s nursery songs set to music by Harold Fraser-Simson and illustrated by E.H. Shepard. Published in 1924, When We Were Very Young was the first of Milne’s celebrated “Christopher Robin” books, in which the character of Winnie-the-Pooh appears for the first time. Inspired by his young son’s rich imaginary life, Milne’s whimsical rhymes spoke directly to children: “Whenever I walk in a London street / I’m ever so careful to watch my feet. / And I keep in the squares, / And the masses of bears, / Who wait in the corners all ready to eat / The sillies who tread on the lines of the street, / Go back to their lairs, / And I say to them ‘Bears,’ / ‘Just look how I'm walking in all of the squares.’” This collection of sheet music, itself a bestseller, testifies to the enormous popular appeal of Milne’s verse. A near-fine copy.