11.19.2010

Vintage Kids' Books from My Shelves

Reading Burgin Streetman's blog, Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves inspired me to go through the books from my childhood that made it into adulthood with me AND survived my kids, as well as a few gems from my husband's childhood.  I would LOVE IT if anyone else wants to share favorite titles from their childhoods that can qualify as vintage (over 20 years old - in print or out of print.)  If I get enough responses, I promise to do the legwork to find cover images and create a post featuring them - all you need to send me is the title and the author, if you know it. (Apologies for the horrible formatting in this post. These were some difficult images to work with...)




Anita Lobel, children's book author, illustrator and wife of Arnold Lobel, with whom she collaborated on the Caldecott winning On Market Street, wrote one of my all time favorites, Under a Mushroom. A family of four trolls lives under a very cozy mushroom that quickly becomes cramped and uncomfortable when all the little creatures of the forest seek refuge there during a rainstorm. The trolls' house is destroyed in the ensuing mayhem, but when the clouds clear a field brimming with new mushrooms is revealed and the trolls find themselves, once alone and lonely, now in a neighborhood.


And, on the theme of mushroom villages, I just discovered this picture book, The Mushroom Center Disaster writtten by NM Bodecker (illustrator for Edward Eager's Magic series of books that should not be missed) and illustrated by his friend Erik Blegvad, the same team who created Hurry, Hurry Mary Dear, the wonderful picture book along the lines of the Little Red Hen story, but with Mary getting a bit of revenge in the end...



The Sorely Trying Day cover













You all know Russell and Lillian Hoban from their classic stories featuring Frances the Badger,  but you may not know their other books. Harvey's Hideout left a deep impression on me as a kid.  Harvey and Mildred Muskrat, siblings who are relentlessly mean to each other in a way that felt very real to me as a child. They lie, bicker, argue and sling mud (literally) but in the end they realize that, when they are lonely they can also be friends.  Charlie the Tramp is much more lighthearted and evokes childhood freedoms that are rare these days.  If your interest is piqued, be sure to seek out The Sorely Trying Day by the Hobans, newly reprinted by The New York Review of Books Children's Collection.  The book features a father, just home from work and hoping to rest his aching feet, a mother who has been at home all day with her quarrelsome brood and how they all come to find a bit of peace and quiet in their day - and all in a Victorian era setting!




I never knew this since my copy is from 1964, but Rain Makes Applesauce by Julian Scheer and Marvin Bileck won the Caldecott Honor in 1965!  This book is a magical, long, winding poem full of beautiful internal rhymes and intricate, sometimes murky pen and ink illustrations with splashes of color. The illustrations are so intricate and amazing I had to share them in the biggest way possible. The book begins, "The stars are made of lemon juice and rain makes applesauce. I wear my shoes inside out and rain makes applesauce.  My house goes walking every day and rain makes applesauce..." My favorite illustration/line was and is, "Monkeys mumble in a jellybean jungle." Well worth a read and probably not too hard to find!


Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr: Book CoverMog's Amazing Birthday Caper by Judith Kerr: Book CoverMog's Bad Thing [With CD (Audio)] by Judith Kerr: Book Cover

Mog in the Dark by Judith Kerr: Book CoverMog and the V.E.T. by Judith Kerr: Book CoverGoodbye by Judith Kerr: Book Cover


I had a copy of Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr when I was a kid.  Neither the book nor the name of the book made it with me to adulthood.  I had only a vague memory of a stripy cat who couldn't remember how to get back in the house and scared a burglar. Weird story, but I have to tell you how the book came back into my life.  I indulge my baser nature while at work by reading gossip magazines on my break.  I like to look at the British tabloids since I rarely know who any of the people are.  I happened to be flipping through HELLO! when I saw a picture of all the little boys in Elizabeth Hurley's wedding party being read to by a nanny while they waited for the ceremony to start.  There, staring out at me from the cover of the book was MOG!  Makes sense, Judith Kerr is a Brit.  I immediately ordered in a 6-in-1 collection of stories as well as a few others.  I love them to bits.  The illustrations are simple and definitely look like they are from the 1960s (the first MOG book was published in 1970) but there is something winsome and lovable about Mog and the scrapes she gets herself into.  Actually, got herself into.  Goodbye Mog, published in 2002, is about Mog's peaceful death and is one of the BEST picture books dealing with the passing of an animal I have ever read.  




A huge influence on my childhood and love of kid's books as an adult has been the magical realism of Richard Scarry and the animal filled world he created.  Most of the books from my childhood, which rest on a shelf of honor, spines tattered and falling apart, have been out of print for many years but are gradually being printed again, although, sadly, in a slightly altered fashion.  Once owned by Simon & Schuster and Western Publishing, Golden Books was the original publisher of the multitude of books by Scarry.  Golden Books is now owned by Random House, and is responsible for reprinting Scarry's work.  Busy, Busy World was my favorite Richard Scarry and remains out of print, probably for a plethora of what would now be considered culturally insensitive stories and illustration.  Another favorite illustrator/author responsible for several classic Golden Books is Tibor Gergly, who illustrated greats like The Pokey Little Puppy, Tootle and Scuffy.  However, my favorite Gergly book, also written by him, is Busy Day, Busy People, which, although filled with humans and not animals, has a decidedly Scarry feel to it. 











I find anything Garth Williams takes his pen/pencil/brush to absolutely magical and evocative of the childhood I wish I had.  Here are a few of his books on my shelf you may not have heard of - all of which are out of print:  The Three Animals, written by Margaret Wise Brown, Emmett's Pig, written by Mary Stolz, and Benjamin's Treasure, a picture book adaptation of an episode from a novel that Garth Williams wrote.  Color and adaptation byRosemary Wells!





And, Arnold Lobel!  The Ice Cream Cone Coot and Other Rare Birds was a childhood favorite of mine that I am happy to report I now own again, thanks to PaperbackSwap.  And, while I still have my copy of Miriam Young and Lobel's Miss Suzy, it was out of print for quite a time but can now be purchased from Purple House Press!















This is a strange but charming book that came with my husband.  Who Needs Donuts by cartoonist, political cartoonist and kid's book writer Mark Alan Stamaty - IN PRINT AGAIN!!!




And one last book from my childhood I am still trying to get my hands on (for less than an arm and a leg) about a monster who is hungry but can't speak properly.  He asks for "fickles" when what he really wants is pickles, and so on.  Not sure why it stuck with me, but I'll find out soon enough since I broke down and ordered it online.





Turns out this is isn't too hard to find, same for the sequel, The Hungry Thing Returns.  Much to my delight, I discovered that a third (OUT OF PRINT) book about the Hungry Thing, The Hungry Thing Goes to a Restaurant, is illustrated by Elroy Freem, also known as MARK TEAGUE!!!  He has long been a favorite of mine, ever since I read Moog Moog the Space Barber and Frog Medicine (who's main character is named ELMO FREEM), both written and illustrated by him, as well as the spectacular Poppleton beginning reader series, written by Cynthia Rylant.  Elroy/Mark also illustrated this Thanksgiving picture book...















Speaking of out of print, Mark Teague, most famous now for illustrating Jane Yolen's How Do Dinosaurs... series, has illustrated and written and illustrated some really great books that, while not vintage (less than 20 years old) still worth seeking out at a library sale of thrift store!





Since I've never given much space to him and I love his work so much, I'll leave you with some Mark Teague books that are still in print.



LaRue Across America by Mark Teague: Book CoverLaRue for Mayor by Mark Teague: Book Cover
Dear Mrs. LaRue by Mark Teague: Book Cover


How I Spent My Summer Vacation (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) by Mark Teague: Book CoverThe Secret Shortcut by Mark Teague: Book Cover


Funny Farm by Mark Teague: Book CoverFirehouse! by Mark Teague: Book Cover



The Doom Machine by Mark Teague: Book Cover

And, his first young adult novel which I bought the day it was released and promise to review soon....

17 comments:

Katherine said...

I love all things Leo Lionni. Happily many are still in print.

Donna said...

Harry the Dirty Dog was my favorite. I purchased it for my kids and they love it as much as I did. The vintage books my boys love most are the Little Tim Series by Edward Ardizzone from the 50's and 60's. There are I think 12 and we own 10 of them. In an age of "helicopter parenting" where walking to the end of the block alone is uncommon, the thought of traveling to sea on a boat alone and having all types of exciting adventures really appeals to my boys. We also love the Billy and Blaze by C.W. Andersen for the same reason, young boy having adventures without parents around.Eve Titus' Anatole series with it's french phrases are also a hit and Harold and the Purple Crayon series. Like you, my boys can pour over the Richard Scarry books for hours. I never heard of the Tibor Gergly but that book looks great and Busy Busy World used and I will be placing those under the Christmas tree. Thanks for giving gift ideas:-)

Read Aloud Dad said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!

You offered a great smorgasbord of fantastic books!

I plan on looking up some of them that are new to me. Some I also reviewed (very positively)... for example The Sorely Trying Day (http://www.readalouddad.com/search/label/The%20Sorely%20Trying%20Day) - great stuff indeed.

Enjoyed your post so much!

Read Aloud Dad

nopinkhere said...

Busy, Busy World was one of my favorites as a kid too! I couldn't remember the name of it and have occasionally been going through lists of Richard Scarry books to see if I could figure it out. I finally ordered one called Going Places hoping it was the one I remembered which turned out to include both that and How Things Go.
I also loved a book called Molly's Moe by Kay Chorao. I loved it so much that my mom actually made me my own "Moe" which I still have.

Tanya said...

Hope you track down a copy of Busy, Busy World now! It's amazing how many different iterations there are of Richard Scary's books. And now they are all being repackaged again. I don't think Busy, Busy World will ever be reprinted, though. A bit too much ethnic stereotyping in that one...

Molly's Moe! Choraro's illustrations are so delicate and beautiful. I could only find ONE crusty picture of the book, but it looks marvelous. Maybe you could scan a page and send it to me? I'm posting the reader's page today and would love to add a better picture. That is so cool that your mom made a Moe. I was that kind of mom once...

Do you remember THE SOMETHING written and illustrated by Natalie Babbitt? She reminds me of Choraro.

Laura said...

You can get the Hungry Thing from Scholastic for not too much. Except you have to be a teacher... I love that book too.

Your posts had me go to my husband's dad's house and get all of his books from when he was a kid. We got some good ones. :) The one I was specifically looking for was The Icky Picky Sister.

Tanya said...

Laura - I discovered that a few weeks back! Using my husband's name (he teaches high school) I ordered 2 copies of the book! Unfortunately, they send me the Spanish editions. Hopefully, the English ones will be on is desk tomorrow... Thanks for the tip and I added MY ICKY PICKY SISTER to my post on Vintage Books from Reader's Shelves.

childEngineer said...

I had no idea Audrey Wood and Mark Teague did a book together. Just ordered a copy on PaperbackSwap.com.

Tanya said...

OOOOOH! Which one? "Flying Dragon Room" remains an all-time favorite with "Sweet Dream Pie" a very close second.

childEngineer said...

Oh, I only saw the Flying Dragon Room with both their names. I didn't realize there was more than one. Glad to know I ordered the one that is your favorite - you have good taste in books.

Tanya said...

I'm so glad you could get your hands on a copy of either one - and as a swap!! Make sure to look for baby Sara on the pages of "Flying Dragon Room." She's not really hidden, but usually off to the side doing something funny.

childEngineer said...

Thanks for the tip on baby Sara - it's always fun when there is an added element like that in a picture book. It looks like I got the last posted copy on PaberbackSwap and it was paperback, not hardback. But still, sounds like I got lucky! However, your blog is going to require me to buy another bookcase for kids books...

Tanya said...

Hehehe... The way your kids read, it was inevitable. Just glad I can help suggest quality titles to stock those shelves.

childEngineer said...

Just got Rain Makes Applesauce from the library and the kids were laughing out loud. And even on the pages that didn't have it, they were adding "Oh, you're just talking silly talk" (or whatever it was). Added it to my wishlist on PaperBackSwap.

The Flying Dragon Room arrived last week and we got The Secret Shortcut from the library this week. The kids enjoyed them, but they employ a type of fantasy that I just don't get. I think being a math/analytical person, I tend to have trouble with make believe that isn't realistic. I can relate to Boy + Bot, but the fantastical subterranean rooms of The Flying Dragon Room created from a magical toolbox just doesn't make sense to me! Great illustrations, though, and I did enjoy finding Baby Sarah on each page.

Tanya said...

That's so funny what you said about fantasy! I definitely like the idea that something magical might be around any corner of this very real world. So glad to hear that the kids like "Rain." I loved it as a kid but as an adult it reads a bit like an acid trip. I wonder how it would be received if it was published today?

Anonymous said...

What is the theme of My Icky Picky Sister?

Tanya said...

I have no idea. A reader commented on it, not me. However, you can google it and find the cover art.