Children's Literature in the Early 18th Century


As is evident in Abraham Chear's A Looking-Glass for Children. Being a Narrative of God's gracious Dealings with some little Children (1708),

If naughty Boys, / allure with Toys, / to sin, or lies to tell; / Then tell them plain, / you tempt in vain, / such wayes go down to Hell.

there is a directness of religious teaching that is increasingly phased out in the progression of children's literature toward the secular along the progression of the eighteenth century.15 More such examples of the didactic nature of religious teaching is evident in the writing of Jane Johnson (1706-59) who constructed card sets, crib mobiles, puzzles, and tiny books for her children. While Johnson created engaging, personal, and creative material for the general education of her children, her presentation of religious topics were often didactic and serious. Integrated into the simple words and sayings used to teach ABCs, were Biblical admonitions and moral teachings. Johnson often included such poems with illustrations:

How wicked these / men are to Quarrel / and Fight: / They surely forget / that they are in / God's sight 16