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Since the 19th century was one of the great ages of scientific discovery and experimentation, hundreds of books were published that offered children and adults access to more general scientific knowledge. Often these works were compendiums of a variety of different topics – bees, shadows, rivers, electricity - on ideas and things in the everyday world. Take, for example, a mother explaining the movement of the sun to her child in Mamma’s Lessons for Her Little Boys and Girls, “Then at this time, your little body did not stop nearly so much light, as now, for the Sun was far above your head. Now, even a little boy stops a great deal, for the bright sun is sunk down, so as to be almost as low as you are; and so the Shadows of my little boy and Mamma, are stretched out nearly all across the Lawn.”

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Edith Waddy (British) Frontispiece from A Year with the Wild Flowers. 1875. Wesleyan Conference Office. 23h18727. Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature, Special & Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida.