Christopher Smart: Hymns For The Amusement of Children

(1420 words)

It could be argued that children’s literature did not properly begin until 18th June 1744, when John Newbery, Christopher Smart’s father-in-law, published his A Little Pretty Pocket Book. There had been books of poetry for children before this, but for the most part they had had a marked Calvinist streak to them, viewing children as fallen creatures, damned by the sin of Adam from their birth, and so needing to be warned of the perils of hell. Newbery’s revolution was that he declared his book to be for the Amusement of children and while there are Morals and Rules of Life after each little verse, the overall effect is light-hearted and on every page there is a little …

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Curry, Neil. "Hymns For The Amusement of Children". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 May 2008
[, accessed 25 May 2015.]