London: Oxford University Press, 1934. First edition. Quarto (11 inches tall), original blue cloth with gilt stamped vignette, illustrated endpapers, original dust jacket. A nearly-fine book, mild toning, modest wear and chipping to price-clipped dust jacket, not affecting illustrations. A near-fine copy. Item #1023
"NOBODY HAS EVER WRITTEN STORIES FOR CHILDREN THAT MATCH THE BIBLE FOR THEIR DRAMA AND SIMPLICITY IN TELLING" First edition of these illustrated passages from the King James Bible, introducing young readers to Holy Scripture. "Bible stories, poems, proverbs, prophecies and teaching have the authority of great literature, shaping cultures. The Bible has been, and still is, the spiritual handbook of the faithful, studied and cherished as a companion of daily religious life. It is always both familiar and strange. Men and women who have never opened the covers are aware of it as something old and special" (David Daniell, The Bible in English). A First Bible features 14 extended passages from the Old Testament, followed by 27 passages from the Gospels of the New Testament, "selected and arranged by Jean West Maury." The stories are paired with illustrations by Helen Sewell, including full-plates, a bordered frontispiece (reproducing the front panel of the dust jacket), a title page vignette (echoing the back panel of the dust jacket) and illustrated endpapers, printed in red. Sewell's brief Foreword envisions the Bible as an "everyday" book for a "child's enjoyment and inspiration." The illustrations are "serene, sculptural, at once intimate and majestic" (Barbara Bader, American Picturebooks: From Noah's Ark to the Beast Within). The book closes with a quote ("I am the Resurrection and the Life") from the eleventh chapter of John. A lovely introduction to the Bible for younger readers.