“Ice cream, Strawberry, Peppermint, Lime, Step this way and stand in line!”
In 1920s Soviet Russia, writer and poet Samuil Marshak and graphic artist Vladimir Lebedev came together to bring the energy and boldness of Russian avant-garde art into children’s publishing. The results of this remarkable collaboration were a series of stunning picture books, four of which are collected and reproduced in full here, newly translated, together in one volume for the first time.
The Circus, Ice Cream, How the Plane Made a Plane, and Yesterday and Today are overtly modern and graphically striking. Marshak’s joyful rhymes are visually built into Lebedev’s illustrations, where figures, objects, and even lettering are simplified into brightly colored geometric shapes. The four stories are a wonderful celebration of modern life, and continue to energize and inspire readers decades after their creation.
Samuil Marshak (1887–1964) was a prominent writer, translator, critic, publisher, and children’s poet in Soviet Russia.
Vladimir Lebedev (1891–1967) was the most influential pre–World War II Russian children’s book illustrator. A painter and graphic artist working in the avant-garde circles of Kazimir Malevich and Vladimir Tatlin, Lebedev was known for bold experimentation with form and style that set high standards in art created for children.
Olga Mäeots is librarian at the Russian State Library in the foreign literature department, and head of the children’s book department.