But - magnificent as it is - it's not immediately clear who or what it is for. It is not really an anthology; the longer items are not complete. It is more like a pattern book - and what child wants their story to be a mere taster, cut off after a few pages? One laudatory notice described it as a perfect christening present, which seemed a bit odd. And then the light dawned. Not for the baby, silly - it's for the parents, a crash- course in what they should be aiming to buy, read, see and encourage over the next decade and more. Not a bad idea, at that.
Left, a classic illustration by Randolph Caldecott for `The Queen of Hearts'; below, one of Arthur Rackham's `Mother Goose' silhouettes.