Once there was a book…

Presentation is everything

Decorated top lid of case

Decorated top lid of case

The Brothers Grimm set by A. Lavrenko, V. Markov, Y. Muravskaya, A. Pasko, and J. Pasko. 1996, Dubna Phoenix: Russia. [15h3824- 15h3828]


This recent find is quite a beauty! One of the amazing things about some of the books in the Baldwin is their packaging. It allows book designers to get creative and set a book, or in this case a small collection, apart from the rest.


Outer edge of case

Outer edge of case

Miniature book in scale to common sized book

Miniature book in scale to common sized book

The Brothers Grimm box contains five popular miniature books of Grimm fairy tales: Cinderella, Little Red-cap, The Brave Little Tailor, Hansel and Grethel, and Little Snow White. The case lays flat (similar to a bracelet box) and  is of finely painted lacquered boards that gleam with a traditional decorative border and ‘portraits’ of the five tales, which mirror the book covers.  The equally decorative books are nestled on red velvet, giving this set a regal presentation.

Case and book covers

Case and book covers

photo 4

Decorated back covers


The texts are in both English and Russian. The publisher, Dubna Phoenix, actually specializes in Russian literature and folk tales made in miniature book format. The set was limited to 50 numbered copies, published between 1996-2000. Unfortunately, most of the books have been broken up from their sets (the only other academic library that has a complete set is the University of Delaware).

Because of the level of artistry, the books are meant to be collectables—notable for the artistry, and not the text itself. There has been an increase over the years in attention to book arts. Packaging and presentation has become more creative, which often results in some unique formats (such as cases that that look like books or covers that unfold inner pages like an accordion). It’s exciting to see the visionary efforts of book designers today!


2 comments on “Presentation is everything

  1. holdencaulfieldcampion
    July 12, 2014

    These are beautiful, I wish I had this set in my library. I would have to be a rich man though!

  2. Olichka
    October 15, 2015

    I just purchased 8 Dubna Phoenix miniature books at an auction, and i was wondering if you know whether the publisher still produces mini books… and if they are, do you happen to have their contact info or website address.
    p.s. i can share the pics of my new books if you would like to see them.
    One of the books is actually No. 1 in an edition of 50.

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This entry was posted on July 11, 2014 by in Children's Literature, Paratexts and tagged , .
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