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Small Wonders

72 pages, 42 illustrations
2 3/4" x 1 3/4"

A Cabinet of Curiosities in Miniature

   Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, and Debatable
   Historical, Mythological, Fictional, and Legendary
   Artistic, Psychological, Political, and Scientific

A pocket Wunderkammer, each object mounted on a Victorian microscope slide. Some highlights of the collection:

 - A test tube containing the poison of a New Guinea toad unknown to science.
 - Philomena, the celebrated singing flea of L. Bertaloto's Flea Circus in Regent Street, 1834
 - A dropped stitch found beneath a Revolutionary guillotine, Paris 1786 (from the Crafts of      Terror collection)
 - An unlucky four-leaf clover ("Has killed three and injured countless others!")
 - A piece of amber from Ellsworth County, Kansas, containing two small watch gears.

Most of the items in the collection are at least partly real, and not always the ones you'd think. All of them embody the motto of the Press: Curiosity, Mystery, Humor, and Delight! Small Wonders is a case of curiosities, and a puzzle. I gathered all the pieces of odd or trivial information I could think of, and matched each to a miniature exhibit in the book/cabinet under an antique laboratory specimen slide. Some are real (’Watermelon seeds from the tomb of King Tutankhamun’), some are jokes (’Unlucky four leaf clover’), some are mythical (’Shard of unicorn horn, Burgundy 1468’), some are personal (”Falling Star, Desert Hot Springs, CA 2006’), some challenge the reader to discover a connection (”Tiny crocodile from ceiling of miniature cabinet of curiosities’ from the Albertus Seba Baby House) and some are just made-up. I was trying to create the atmosphere of the original wunderkammers: not yet science, but damned interesting. In this book, at least, there’s a list of acknowledgments at the end, if not a very reliable one.

There are two charts included, one showing the distribution of the items in the collection by location, and the other showing their distribution in time.There is also a black and white illustration of the complete cabinet (thanks to the small size of the exhibits, housed in an actual cabinet), and a larger color print folded into a slipband inside the back cover.

The book is bound in gold, light blue, and green Florentine paper (with red and gold birds and butterflies hidden in the foliage), and a spine of dark blue lizard paper piped in gold. The book has decorative endpapers, and a paper title pasted on the spine


This product was added to our catalog  October 24, 2009