The Gospel Preached, in One and Two Syllable Words, a "Lost" First Edition Found
[David Alfred Doudney (1811–1893)].
The Gospel Preached to Babes: Principally in Words of One and Two Syllables.
London: Published for the Author, by Darton and Clark, 1839. (BRB0961)
The author writes in the preface that “there are already a great number of works of various pretensions, expressly for children, but [he] considers that there is yet room for more of the kind which preach Jesus to a child, and which simplify the great truths of Christianity to the infantile understanding.” A series of ten conversations between a mother and child, the stories are composed with dialogue primarily written in one and two syllable words for easy comprehension. To assist young readers further, words with two syllables are hyphenated so the text can be read in simple, single syllables. In the displayed opening, the story of Lazarus is explained, accompanied by a hand-colored wood engraving.
A successful mid-nineteenth century introduction to scripture for young children, The Gospel Preached was previously known only in single surviving copies of the “fifth thousandth” and “seventh thousand,” both printed in 1845. This copy from the first edition, printed in 1839 with wood-engraved, hand-colored illustrations throughout, is unique. Other editions seem to have been literally read to pieces.