This enchanting little book is quite rare, and one of the few publications to appear in the middle of the Second World War, despite the shortage of paper for printing (the public were begged to save every possible scrap of paper they could, in aid of the war effort). It tells of a little donkey's adventures and difficult experiences, culminating in his adoption by a circus, with the tantalising prospect of a further volume recounting his life from then on. At just 48 pages long, it nevertheless contains much to inspire and amuse youngsters then living through the traumatic experiences of a world war.
Walter Trier (1890-1951) was born to a middle class German-speaking Jewish family in Prague. He studied art in Prague and Munich, but in 1936, when his antifascist cartoons had roused the ire of the Nazis, he judged it best to emigrate to London, where he helped the Ministry of Information produce anti-Nazi leaflets and political propaganda. In 1947, after acquiring British citizenship, he moved his family to Canada to be near his daughter and her family.
The book is small and worn consistent with its age and the limited resources available at the time of its production. Just 25 pages of thin paper are bound (stitched) in boards covered with greyish-brown cloth. There are one or two minor tears to one or two of these, and a 3cm tear to the 14th (see photo). The front cover has a charming illustration of Dandy in black, with red title, author etc. Inside, the book has been carefully reconstituted with glue/paste, and the free front endpaper shows the remains of a piece of Sellotape, also (presumably) used at some time to keep the book together. As a result, the spine is a little creased, but the exterior is otherwise intact and in good condition. All pages are lightly tanned (endpapers rather more so) but the print and illustrations (both colour and B&W) are clear and unmarked. Only one (double-page) illustration is signed A charming little book, worthy of any collection.