A signicant step in the evolution of French books for the young came with the return to France in 1860 of Pierre-Jules Hetzel aer nine years of exile in Brussels, when he installed his publishing business at 18 rue Jacob in Paris and devoted himself to developing his project of publishing for the young.1 Books, for Hetzel, played a vital part in the development of the child: ‘la santé morale et intellectuelle d’un enfant est tout entière dans le choix et dans la qualité des lectures qu’on lui fait faire’.2 Together with Jean Macé and, subsequently, Jules Verne, he founded in 1864 the inuential Magasin d’éducation et de récréation, an illustrated magazine dedicated to young readers, and then the Bibliothèque d’éducation et de récréation series which published in volume form many of the serialised novels and other pieces that had appeared in the Magasin. e volumes of this collection, originally called the Bibliothèque illustrée des familles, were highly desirable products, with their trademark red, black, and gold illustrated covers, and were oen chosen as prizes by the French Ministry of Education; they are still much sought aer by collectors today.3 Hetzel was remarkably adept at advertising and marketing his product. e elaborate posters publicising the new volumes of livres d’étrennes alerted parents to new publications and catalogues for all the dierent collections were appended to each volume of the Bibliothèque. In one such catalogue from 1887-88, published twenty years aer the beginning of Hetzel’s project, we nd the following celebratory promotional blurb: ‘Quels souvenirs agréables et charmants ce titre général ne rappelle-t-il pas aux hommes jeunes

d’aujourd’hui, ceux qui entrent dans la vie au moment même où une révolution complète s’opérait, en leur faveur, dans la littérature!’4