The Acquisitions Table: New Little Mittens

Barrow, Frances. New Little Mittens. New York & London: D. Appleton and Co., 1869.

New Little MittensThis wood-engraved frontispiece is a comic scene set in the culture clash between a Chinese gentleman going out for a stroll, and an ignorant American sailor who pulls his queue and says “My stars and stripes! What a long tail our pussy cat’s got!” Any hope that this picture serves as the basis for a discussion about respecting people from different cultures is quickly dispelled: this image is used to illustrate a story about children misbehaving in church. Instead of listening to the minister, a little boy chooses instead to look at a secular book about foreign countries containing this picture. Eventually, the boy laughs out loud in church, and his bad behavior (reading a worldly book in church) is discovered.

Published by

Laura Wasowicz

Curator of Children's Literature, American Antiquarian Society

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