I picked up this vintage french children's book without knowing too much about it but the more I have looked into it, the more fascinating it gets. The book is Droles de Betes with words and illustrations by André Hellé. As far as I can discover, the book was produced in 1911 and that makes it all the more remarkable when you see the layout and the stylised, modernist style of illustration.
The first thing that strikes you about the book is its size, the book is roughly 17 by 12 inches (40x30cm), it's very big. The typography is beautifully done with hand-drawn text and titles, and the wording incorporates many quirky line drawings. The colour illustrations have been printed separately on white paper and tipped-in.
But it's the avant-garde style of the book that is so interesting. The animals are toy-like and so simplified. I imagine that this book must have looked very striking and innovative in 1911.
There are more excellent pages in the book and I'll show them in another blog-post soon.
There's more information on André Hellé on this blog by his admirers: André Hellé