The entertaining history of Giles Gingerbread, a little boy who lived upon learning
"Adorned with copperplate engravings." Each plate has two illustrations; numbered 1-8.
Attributed to John Newbery. Cf. DNB; Mrs. E.M. Field, The child and his book; Nichols' Lit. anec. v. 3, p. 465.
Shaw & Shoemaker 21215
Welch, D.A. Amer. children's books, 450.3
Haviland, V. Yankee Doodle's literary sampler, p. 82-83
The Renowned History of Giles Gingerbread: A Little Boy who lived upon Learning. London: Newbery and Carnan, 1769. 31 pages, 16 woodcuts was originally published by John Newbery (1713–1767), the Englishman considered by some to be the inventor of children’s literature and by others to have been the first to recognize its commercial potential. The story certainly exemplifies the children’s books published by John Newbery, being both entertaining and egalitarian in nature. Giles Gingerbread, subtitled “A Little Boy who lived upon Learning,” tells of a boy who learned his lessons by eating his way through gingerbread books made by his father. Gaffer Gingerbread tells his son Giles that “Merit and Industry may entitle a Man to any Thing” and illustrates his point with the tale of Sir Toby, whose virtues allow him to rise from humble origins to wealth and position. In addition to its emphasis on the value of learning, Giles Gingerbread promoted obedience, selflessness, honesty, and industry to its young readers. Giles Gingerbread was the first of Newbery’s children’s books to be reprinted in the United States (in 1768, one year after John Newbery ’s death).