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‘  imagination?’ The hero of his first book accompanies an informed adult through America, meets with adventures, sees historical places. His books soon succumbed to their purpose and lost fictional interest, but seven millions of them were sold before detailed description palled. He wrote or edited one hundred and twenty books; and his pseudonym Peter Parley was stolen by many imitators, especially in England. He did a very important work in simplifying information books for children; and Parley's magazine, which he conducted for nine years, and also the chief juvenile annual, which he edited, contributed to create opportunity for and to popularize children's writing. Jacob Abbott kept his heroes in their New England home, busying them only with rambles and picnics in woods and fields. A professor of mathematics, he had an appreciation of fact even more imperious than his rival's, and almost equalled him in fecundity. From 1832 until his death in 1879 he was exhaustless in quantity if not in invention. The Rollo, Lucy, Jonas, and Franconia books provide simple pictures of cheerful children, but place main emphasis upon dispensing information on all subjects about which curious youngsters may pester their parents. Beechnut, the village encyclopedia in the Franconia books, is an original creation, life-like if omniscient; but although Abbott in his other series has similar vehicular youthful prodigies, they are wooden. The voluminous information of the Rollo books and the rest made convenient burlesque in later generations, but Abbott's work had conspicuous common sense; and in pre-homeopathic days his sugar-coated pills were extraordinarily popular. Both of these men naively indicated that their purpose was not primarily fictional. About their work, Gulian Verplanck, editing The fairy Book, was as testy as Charles Lamb with Mrs. Barbauld and Mrs. Trimmer. ‘Dismal trash all of them!’ he cried. ‘Something half-way between stupid story-books and bad school-books; being so ingeniously written as to be unfit for any useful purpose in the school and too dull for any entertainment out of it.’ But Peter Parley had much naturalness of style in contrast with earlier stiffness, and Abbott showed genuine lightness of touch. Their enormous sales prove their attractiveness; and Noah Brooks, himself an important juvenile writer, has recorded
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