Instruction for Children With Illustrated Fables - No copy in ESTC

Gignoux, John; Entick, John

The Child’s Best Instructor in Spelling and Reading. In which the Division of Syllables is taught in such a natural Way, that the Learner may soon attain to a correct and true Pronunciation of Words … By John Entick, M.A. Author of the New Spelling Dictionary. A new Edition, being the ninth, carefully revised, corrected, altered, and enlarged.

London: Printed for B. Law … and C. Dilly, 1788


Octavo: pp. [2], 2, 164.

With twelve woodcut vignette illustrations; a very fine copy in contemporary sheep, edges slightly rubbed.

A very rare and attractive reading and spelling primer for young children, with syllabaries and reading exercises followed by twelve illustrated fables (pp. 133-144), a history of British monarchs, and some moral verses.

The first edition of Gignoux’s Instructor was published in 1757 (not in ESTC, but two copies recorded by Alston); the next extant edition is the ‘fifth’ of 1769 (1 copy known), which added a grammar by John Entick and was evidently revised by him. Subsequent editions dropped Gignoux, a minor English teacher, from the title-page, and replaced him with Entick, a slightly better-known miscellaneous author, recently made notorious by his successful suit against the government for the illegal seizure of his papers in 1762.

Editions of 1773, 1780 and 1785 followed, surviving in 1 or 2 copies each. That of 1785, and also the present, dropped Entick’s grammar once more and apparently made ‘great alterations’ – ‘In the first place then, the Lessons are nearly all new and much more numerous … [and] the Tables of Spelling-columns … more extensive’ (Advertisement, signed by one ‘W.C.’ at Northfleet). The work was evidently popular enough to demand this series of reprints, as well as two American editions recorded by Evans but not known in any surviving copy, but its ephemeral and scholastic use has made survival rates extremely low.

Not in ESTC. Alston IV, 682, lists a single copy, at the Bibliothèque nationale.