For How Long Have Picturebooks Been Around?

Storybook apps are very new indeed, and today it seems as if the picturebook (the kind you hold in your hand) has been around for centuries and centuries, but that is not the case at all:

It is difficult to be precise about when the modern picturebook first made its appearance but most authorities seem to be agreed that during the late nineteenth century picturebook makers such as Randolph Caldecott played a decisive role in transforming the Victorian toy book into something much more like the modern picturebook. Similarly, although many fine picturebooks were published prior to the 1960s, a number of factors converged around that time to enable publishers to produce and sell high quality picturebooks in larger numbers than before.

– from the introduction to Reading Contemporary Picturebooks by David Lewis


If you’re anything like me, you’re wondering ‘What on earth is a Victorian toy book?’ Good old Wikipedia has the answer.