This was the successor to Baby's Annual and for a few years became Nelson's main Annual for very young children. It was smaller than the
The Chummy Book or
The Jolly Book, which both contained 288 pages and 16 full-page colour illustrations. This Annual contained 8 full page colour illustrations plus 4 double page colour drawings by Blampied on 128 pages. The adverts at the back of the The Jolly Book (12th Year) and The Chummy Book (9th Year) of the same year both list this book as Baby's Annual, but this title was only used once, so the change in name to The Nursery Book must have been a late decision. It was called
Baby's Annual until at least August 1920, when the idea for
Blam's Nursery Book was abandoned and the title was used for this series. This first volume is essentially
Blam's Nursery Book because his work appears on 42 pages of the book, plus the end papers.
Blampied's first design for the cover of this book was liked but felt to be a bit too unusual. Edwin Jack had a clear idea of what was wanted:
I think the suggestion of cover for Baby’s Annual is most effective. I like the subject but I don’t think that as it stands it is quite suitable for this book. It is too bizarre and eccentric in treatment for the public we are appealing to. I like it but they won’t. If you could work out this design in such a way that the doggie could be a bit more natural and the little boy made into a natural and attractive little fellow I think the design would do well. I suppose the cap on the boy’s head is intended for something out of a cracker but somehow or other it gives the impression of a weird little Egyptian from one of the monuments. Of course I know this is only a sketch but I am just afraid you may sacrifice the appeal to children in order to add to the effectiveness of design and we must have both.
Blampied submitted some sketches in August 1920 for the colour drawings. Jack replied on 26th August:
I am obliged by sketches of subjects for Baby’s Annual. I like best the children with hoops and the calf being fed out of a pail. They seem to be much brighter than the other two, but I think the other two are also very attractive subjects. Will you allow me to make one criticism of your work for children? I think that your children could be made much more pleasing looking. I shall be glad if you will give attention to this point as children are very susceptible to the appearance of other children in pictures and are easily charmed by graceful little faces and figures. I should be glad to have the black and whites of these subjects at your convenience. I enclose a proof of one of the subjects for this year’s annual as to guide you to size. One point I should like to draw attention to: the drawings necessarily have a fold in the middle. As far as possible, however, it is as well not to have a principal figure in the middle of your drawing where that can be avoided.
This Annual contained four original drawings in flat colours by Blampied which are shown below.
Bibliography code: NEL-21.7
Publisher: Thomas Nelson and Sons
Series: The Nursery Book
Binding: printed boards backed with cream cloth; plain rear cover
Dust jacket: not seen, but probably had one
Size: 285 x 230 mm
Price: 3 shillings 6 pence
Cover: by Blampied, but partial signature removed, see Little Chums
Internal illustrations: decorated endpapers from The Jolly ABC; pages 8, 9, 11, 21, 22, 25, 31, 32, 33, 41, 43, 44, 52, 58, 63, 64, 65, 70, 71, 72, 79, 86, 93, 106, 197, 118, 119, 121, 122 are all line drawings from Blam's Book of Fun; original double page flat colour drawing on pages 12-13 of farmer feeding a calf from a bucket with children; original double page flat colour drawings on pages 34-35 of children on a see saw over a log with a man in the middle; original double page flat colour drawing on pages 56-57 of children rolling hoops down a road; original double page flat colour drawing on pages 98-99 of boy on a pony on a path being watched by other children with balloons; and the decorated end papers from A Breezy Farm ABC.
Cover (click to enlarge)
Printing history: not stated
Printed by: Printed in Great Britain at the Press of the Publishers
Notes: The design for the cover was used again on Little Chums (1922?). The book contains all the line drawings from Blam's Book of Fun, the endpapers and all letters of the alphabet reduced in size and drawn in line from The Jolly ABC and the endpapers from The Breezy Farm ABC. The four double-page flat colour illustrations shown below are original, for this Annual.
Double page illustration between pages 11 - 13 (click to enlarge)
Double page illustration between pages 34 - 35 (click to enlarge)
Double page illustration between pages 56 - 57 (click to enlarge)
Double page illustration between pages 98 - 99 (click to enlarge)