The Orbis Pictus of John Amos Comenius: The Educational Classic - The First Illustrated Children's Textbook, Published in 1658 (Paperback)
The Orbis Pictus was the first ever illustrated children's textbook, first published in 1658. This edition is based upon a reprint dated to 1728, and contains 155 drawings, and the full text in both English and Latin.
Intended to provide children with a basic level of familiarity with the principal phenomena of the natural world and human life, the Orbis Pictus - the Visible World - is filled with wide-ranging subjects. Descriptions of plants, animals and the elements, are followed by an anatomical discussion of man. Though the medical knowledge of the time was simple compared with today, the author nevertheless describes the body's functions - digestive and circulatory - with some accuracy.
Later the text moves onto human life. The various professional trades receive chapters; baking, fishing, farming, cookery, brewing and various handicrafts are discussed. The various tools and equipment found in a tailor's shop or a blacksmith's forge are described. The construction of homes and other buildings are elaborated upon, while professional services such as shipping and papermaking are also explained. Though simple, the contents are incredibly rich - since the book dates to the 17th century, its contents carry historical insights.
John Amos Comenius was a leading educator and theologian from the Czech Republic. He travelled and worked throughout Europe, advocated critical and logical thinking over rote memorization, and advocated for funding education for the poor and for the tutoring of women.