Worksheet 10: Metallic Bonds is the answer key to the October 2020 edition of Black Books by Claudia Hammond. It was introduced as part of the permanent collection of the Tate Britain in London.
The question on the Worksheet, its answer key, and a full description of how to read the figure to find out if it is a happy or sad number were printed inside the jacket of the Black Book. Those questions had been intended to help children learn about the practice of mental arithmetic. This appears to be one of the first books that has ever had a permanent display in the British Museum’s collections, so it is certainly a valuable addition to our knowledge of the development of children’s books in the nineteenth century.
The book was developed from a traditional book, called Points of Light, which contained ten different representations of different colors, and each figure represented a point of light source. Some of the figures were white, some red, some blue, some yellow, and some brown. Each time a child turned the page, they would look at the color that represented their point of light and then move onto the next page to see what color their point of light was in.
In Worksheet, instead of using a separate color for each figure, each figure is represented by a specific color. Each page contains two to four figures representing different points of light, depending on which color it is. As a result, when a child turns the page, they may be able to turn to the next page to see their point of light, but it can also be difficult to know which figure it is until they’ve read the relevant color.
However, many different colors are combined to represent points of light. For example, the seventh page contains seven different colored points of light, while the tenth page contains nine different colored points of light. The question on the tenth page of Worksheet will require children to turn to the other color on the following page. In the twentieth century, Worksheet was used as an answer key in a number of Black Books. Most of these books were sent to teachers for teaching purposes, but a small number were made available for sale. The price of these books was substantially higher than a regular Black Book, and their availability was unusual, because this particular edition was made with heavy cotton paper.
After the First World War, the price of Worksheet fell in price, but the majority of Black Books published after 1920 were made with lighter paper and were therefore less expensive. Many publishers of regular editions did not publish these kinds of books, but did so in conjunction with other publishers. Unfortunately, the period between 1920 and 1950 is not well documented, as few public libraries have catalogs that are specific to the decade, and the black book market was dominated by a relatively small number of companies.
Worksheet was used in many black books during the twentieth century, including the permanent Tate Collection edition. Although many of the color pictures in these books have been destroyed, it is still possible to make an exact copy of the original Worksheet book, which would allow anyone to read it with some difficulty.