Saturday, January 31, 2009

More Etsy Stuff

Ten feet deep in books today... I uploaded some great ones to my Etsy store that I had doubles of... here are a few of the highlights.

The Nose Book: Reviewed here. Sold here.
Pierre: Reviewed here. Sold here.
Make Way for Ducklings: Reviewed here. Sold here.
D'auliare's Book of Greek Myths: Reviewed here. Sold here.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Klippity Klop

Klippity Klop
Ed Emberley ~ Little Brown and Co, 1974

It was hard to scan this title as the color is so brown and one-noted, so I hope my words illustrate what a rocking little book it is. From Ed Emberley who brought us the Caldecott Medal-winning Drummer Hoff, I would call this a part knight's tale, part book of sounds with a big 'ole dragon blowing flames in the middle. The simple line drawings are cartoonish and fun, but still express of certain amount of movement that elevate it from simply being funny. You see the sounds of the story written out within the pictures and the action of the words propels the story along. So inventive and well-executed. For example...

They came to a gravely hill
and rode down it,
They came to a rocky hill
and rode up it,
They came to a cave
and looked in...
A dragon looked out...
... and yelled at them!

The moral of the story ends with the idea that big adventure is a fine thing, but being safe at home is pretty cool too, a sweet sentiment that I embrace fully. Plus who wouldn't love a pair of heroes called Prince Krispin and Dumpling? Anytime a character has an edible name, I'm all for it.Also by:
The Story of Paul Bunyan
The Wing on a Flea

Wonder Bear

I did something I never do over at my other blog. I reviewed a new children's book, Wonder Bear. Click it and check it out. Gorgeous.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dinny and Danny

Dinny and Danny
Louis Slobodkin ~ Macmillan, 1951

With all the talk of Al Gore and global warming in the news, I was delighted to find this wee ice age tickler peeking out at me from a book bin this week. The story is very relevant in that when the glaciers begin to melt, who is there to help save Danny, but his friend Dinny the Dinosaur (not to be confused with Danny and the Dinosaur, mind you!)

Once there was a very hot summer. The sun beat down and melted the glacier so much that the great meadow became a great lake. The water rose higher and higher in the great meadow. The water rose so high Dinny's mother and father and all his hundreds of brothers and sisters climbed out of the meadow so that they would not drown.Dinny saves the day for his cave people friends, and although you don't see the ultimate destruction of the dinosaurs, when you read that Dinny and Danny never see each other again, you kinda get the drift that the giant herbivore's time had come. Yet another chance for me to start the end-of-the-world-as-we-know it conversation with the boy. Fun, fun! Really, I love anything Slobodkin and my son loves anything dinosaur, so I knew the double D would be a hit. Ah yes, boys and their dinosaurs. God love them.

Also by:
Too Many Mittens
Millions and Millions and Millions!
Many Moons

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Save Handmade!

Please skip on over to Design Mom today (or anywhere in the crafty blogosphere really) and help save handmade!

How To Speak Politely and Why

How to Speak Politely & Why
Munro Leaf ~ originally published 1934 as Grammar Can be Fun, How to Speak Politely and Why ~ reprinted by Universe, 2005

Now, I first found out about Munro Leaf's manners books when I was with my mother last summer and fell in love with her childhood copy of How to Behave and Why. I never posted on it because there were simply too many books and too little time, but anywho... Shortly thereafter I was thrilled to find that the whole series (Manners Can Be Fun, Reading Can Be Fun, Brushing Your Teeth Can Be Fun) has been reissued by Universe.

We all know and love Munro as the author of The Story of Ferdinand, but in these books the man's true wit and smarts shine bright. The stick figures are hilarious, and the lessons learned are concise and funny and really grab the attention and imagination of my son. This title in particular is a great gift for any of your more literary friends, and reading through it myself, I'm reminded of grammatical hiccups I make all the time. Lay, lied, laid... ugh!My son gets huge kicks out of the stories, and seeing as we are constantly struggling with manners and correct English, this is a great way to open up the conversation without sounding correcting or (even worse) like a total bore.

Also by:
The Story of Ferdinand

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Great Readers Write: Tikki Tikki Tembo

As promised... here is the first in what will hopefully be a regular feature... The Great Readers Write where VKBMKL readers write in about the vintage books their kids (or they!) love. Our hostess today is Daisy B., a loyal reader from Australia who would like to quit her job and read great books full-time (ahhh, bliss...), and who also has a huge library furnished with vintage finds from the local op shops. (Good on ya!) So, without further blah blah, here she is to share one of her family favorites.Arlene Mosel ~ illustrated by Blair Lent ~ Scholastic, 1968

Tikki Tikki Tembo is set in ancient China, about a first-born son named Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo (which meant "the most wonderful thing in the whole wide world") and his little brother Chang. One day Chang falls into the well and his brother must fetch some help to get him out - all is good. However, a few months later when Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo falls into the well, when Change tries to get help from his mother and the "Old Man with the Ladder", he runs into all sorts of problems due to his brother's long name which no-one can hear or understand.

Chang ran as fast as his little legs could carry him to his mother and said, "Oh, Most Honourable Mother, Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo has fallen into the well!"
"The water roars, 'Little One', I cannot hear you."
So Chang took a deep breath...

His poor brother spends so long in the well it takes him months to get better, and this story is given as a reason Chinese names are now often so short.

This story was a favourite of mine as a child, and although I'm hard pressed to remember my phone number and have no idea of my bank account details, I have never forgotten Tikki Tembo's long name. I used to tell this story to my kids off by heart before I unearthed our old Scholastic paperback on a recent visit back home. And now my kids too can recite his very long name with glee as we read through the story. Blair Lent's Oriental-style drawings are lovely, ranging from a double page spread of the children with a huge dragon kite to the swirls of the Old Man's dream.

Reading it again as an adult, I was a little perturbed by the favouritism for the 'honoured' older child over the poor second one (according to the story, Chang means "little or nothing"!) which I hadn't remembered. It's also presented as a Chinese folktale, which it isn't. But so long as you are not using it as an example of real Chinese culture, or to support the poor unloved second child theme (and I have no problem with dissecting out ideas I don't support when reading books to my kids - hopefully this will help teach them to make up their own minds about things in future), then I promise you your kids will adore reeling off Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo's long name and, like me, will probably still remember it over 30 years later. Best of all, it's even still in print so you can easily find a copy!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Chick and the Duckling

The Chick and the Duckling
Mirra Ginsburg ~ pictures by José Aruego & Ariane Dewey ~ Macmillan, 1972

Though at this point The Chick and the Duckling is a wee bit baby for my son, when we are out thrifting, of course anything with a bird on the cover gets tossed in the bag. Thus how this title found its way onto his bookshelf recently. I've always loved the three-way combo of Ginsburg/Aruego/Dewy, so even though the story is extremely short and simple, I didn't turn up my nose. And in fact, now that I've read through it aloud no less than a dozen times, the moral is one we are currently struggling with... that is the "if everyone jumped off a bridge would you do it?" faze of preschoolerdome. He's gotten to emulating the nasty behavior of some of his class mates, and we've been trying (in vane) to reel it in, so this story helps give our finger shaking some tangibility.

So, there's this chick see, and he wants to do everything his little duck friend does.

"I found a worm," said the Duckling.
"Me too," said the Chick.
"I caught a butterfly," said the Duckling.
"Me too," said the Chick.
"I am going for a swim," said the Duckling.
"Me too," said the Chick.

Now, it doesn't take a genius to figure out this doesn't end well. I'm hoping the meaning sinks in with him that chickens can't swim, and that sometimes it's not so cool to do all the things your friends do. And, of course, that ducks and chicks can still be friends despite their differences in flotation.Also by:
How the Sun Was Brought Back to the Sky

Great Monday Give: Amos & Boris

Good morning all. My son has recently started getting into audio books, and his current favorite is The One and Only Shrek Plus Five Other Stories by William Steig. It has been in constant rotation in our car for about a week, but sadly, it doesn't include one of my son's all time favorite Steig titles, Amos & Boris. (Though of late, he has been leaning toward Spinky Sulks, but I digress.) So, today the Great Monday Give is a well-loved but still great Scholastic paperback of said book. Great story. Great illustrations. To be entered to win, all you have to do is leave a loving and sweet comment on this post before Sunday ~ February 1st at midnight. (Egad! Is it February already!?!) Good luck kids.

And although she'll think I fixed this, the winner of last week's give is Sweet Pea & Beans, the mommy blogger and recent Etsy stationary sensation... and also a longtime reader and Internet buddy. I swear Meg, it was the blind scroll and point! Anyway, you know the drill... send me your info and when I feel so possessed I will ship the book to you right away, free of charge and so on and so forth... webe(at)soon(dot)com... yadda.

See you shortly with a new review everyone else!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pickle Things

Pickle Things
Marc Brown ~ Parents Magazine Press, 1980

Though Marc Brown skews slightly younger than my peer group, I know many of you will remember and love this little out-of-print tickler. My son sure adores it, and seeing that he inherited his love of the green treat from me, I have to agree... any book about pickles rocks. (Though I am crossing my fingers that the boy doesn't become a secret pickle juice drinker like myself. Straight from the bottle... don't laugh... I'm not the only one! You know who you are...)

Pickle things you never see...
Like pickles on a Christmas tree.
A pickle ear, a pickle nose,
Pickle hair and pickle toes.

Oh, wouldn't it be lovely? (Seriously, for every birthday I can expect a vase full of daisies and a jar full of pickles. One time I even got a vase full of pickles-on-a-stick, but I digress... ) A short, ditty of a book, every page imagines another use or misplacement of the former cucumber, each more silly than the next. (Ever fly a pickle plane through pickle snow and pickle rain?) Most famous for his Arthur series, now that I am rereading his Wiki entry, it seems our Mr. Brown hid the names of his kids in all of the Arthur books except for one. Goody! I always love a challenge, especially when it is accompanied by a pickle. Did I mention I love pickles?

Also by:
How the Rabbit Stole the Moon

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Was Walking Down the Road

I Was Walking Down The Road
Sarah E. Barchas with pictures by Jack Kent ~ Scholastic, 1975

The more I find books illustrated by Jack Kent, the deeper and deeper in love with him I fall. Consider him my new children's book crush starting now. (Sorry Roy McKie, but know you're still number one in my heart, plus you're still alive and that means there might actually be a chance for us someday... that is if you don't mind sharing me with my husband!) Anywho, Jack Kent's drawings are quite simply great. And great not in some flowery, stunning, immaculate sense, but in the sense that a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is great. Or someone scratching your back is great. Or finding a $20 bill on the ground is great. He's that kind of great, and that's truly the best kind of great you can be, no?

So, there's this little girl see, and her story of animal imprisonment is told in a delightfully bouncy rhythm.

I was eating cake and cider.
Then I saw a little spider.
I caught it.
I picked it up.
I put it in a cage.

I was reading something funny.
Then I saw a little bunny.
I caught it.
I picked it up.
I put it in a cage.

And so the story goes until it seems she has every animal on the block in her collection... The end is absolutely perfect in my book.I was looking at my pets.
Then I saw them look at me.
I sat a while.
I thought a while.
And then...
I set them free.

I love the sentiment of this morality tale, and I know that sounds like a crock coming from a woman that to appease her son's animal obsession currently has no less than 11 animals living in some cage or another. Two dogs, one cat, one turtle, four guppies, one mouse and two zebra finches... respectively, of course. Alas and alack. Hum ho.

Also by:
Jack Kent's Twelve Days of Christmas
The Grown-Up Day
The Fox and the Crow
The Biggest Shadow in the Zoo
The Animobile Book
Jack Kent's Book of Nursery Tales
Dooly and the Snortsnoot
Mr. Meebles
Cindy Lou and the Witch's Dog
The Blah
Jack Kent's Valentine Sticker Book
The Bremen-town Musicians
Round Robin
Just Only John
Fly Away Home
Fat Cat
Piggy Bank Gonzales
Socks for Supper


Read along on Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Walt Disney's Circus

Walt Disney Productions ~ Simon and Schuster, 1944

OK, technically this is only kind-of a licensed book but seeing as I found it for way more than I would have liked to pay but way less than it should have been, I figured it was OK to post on it. And since it is such an old school title, the only Disney characters it features are some of the Fantasia animals like the Ostrich, Hippo and Crocodile, and Donald Duck who doesn't even really look like Donald Duck yet. Though it has only been in our possession a few days, the boy is insane for Walt Disney's Circus, and I happen to love the way it looks and feels. The colors have a glorious mat finish, and I love how the artists chose to leave the sketch pencil lines just beneath those colors making it seem as if the animals are dancing in place. My boy also loves books with flocking. Anytime he can pet something, it makes it 10 times better. Reading it aloud in my best ringmaster voice is a blast!

"Attention, everyone!" shouts the Ringmaster.
"Here we have one of the greatest spectacles of our time. We have penetrated the wildest jungles to capture and bring to you the one and only Sacred White Elephant!" What's this? The clowns have washed all the white paint off the Sacred Elephant with their squirt guns while the Ringmaster was talking? "Those villains will be the death of me yet!" he cries, and tears his hair with rage.

Basically, the book is a big top drama, and though today we know that most circus animals probably live in a private hell, it is still fun to suspend disbelief for a page or two and imagine them all smiling and laughing. The 40s were a great era for Disney, and this artwork represents the best of its best..

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Grover and the Everything in the Whole Wide World Museum

Grover and the Everything in the Whole Wide World Museum
Norman Stiles and Daniel Wilcox ~ illustrated by Joe Mathieu
Random House, 1974

I know, I know. I promised no more licensed characters, but I couldn't help myself. When I did that post the other day and was reminded of Grover and the Everything in the Whole Wide World Museum, I went searching all through the house and came up empty handed. Luckily, I stumbled across yet another copy last week at a book shop and fell in love again with what was most-definitely my favorite Sesame Street book from childhood. I'm sure my original copy is in like 80 million pieces somewhere at the bottom of a landfill because I loved it to death. Endless hours spent reading and looking and spotting things I'd missed before.

So yea, Grover visits the EITWWWM and gets his mind blown by the zillions of wonderful things to see. Really, there are zillions of cool things to check out in this book as every page turn brings a world of wonder. Plus you have lovable, furry, old Grover as your guide, and of course he makes everything slapstick and hysterical.

I won't give away the end (which is totally awesome!) but I will say this...

You know, I have seen many things in this museum. But I have still not seen EVERYTHING IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. Where did they put everything else?

I'm afraid you'll have to read it yourself to find out.

Other old school Sesame Street books:
The Together Book
The In and Out and All About Sesame Street Coloring Book
Sherlock Hemlock and the Great Twiddlebug Mystery
The Many Faces of Ernie
The Great Cookie Thief
Sesame Street 1,2,3 Storybook
The Amazing Mumford and His Amazing Subtracting Trick
The Sesame Street Bedtime Storybook

More Etsy Finds!

Happy new president's day everyone... I'm shilling for books on this post, and I'm psyched to say I found another copy of The Golden Treasury of Children's Literature and a copy of The Tyger Voyage at one of our more upscale shops last week. Both are near mint copies, so I'm passing them along at only slight markups as I knew one of you guys might like to have them.

Plus, a few more paperback faves I'm flushing out:

Golden Treasury of Children's Literature:
Reviewed here. Sold here.

The Tyger Voyage:
Reviewed here. Sold here.

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears:
Reviewed here. Sold here.

Make Way For Ducklings:
Reviewed here. Sold here.

Stay tuned for today's review!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Five Senses

Tasha Tudor's Five Senses
Tasha Tudor ~ Platt & Munk, 1978

Even though it's a glorious 70 degrees and sunny here in South Texas, I am seriously thinking I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. I am definitely in a funk that won't get unfunked... luckily there are characters like Sally in the world to make all the woes feel right again. You see...

Sally lives on a farm. As the seasons change from spring to summer, from fall to winter, she uses her five senses to enjoy things that happen there all year.Sweet, dear Sally sees the flowers in spring, tastes the candy cane in winter, smells the wild roses in summer and hears the call of the wild geese in the fall. This angel of a child looks and listens and smells and tastes and touches just about everything and always sees her cup half full... running over actually. I think I might tear my son from the Dr. Seuss he is pouring over at the moment and make him lie in the grass with me... allergies be damned!

Also by:
1 is One
A Time to Keep
Pumpkin Moonshine
First Graces
A Tale for Easter

Great Monday Give: The Complete Adventures of Curious George

Today's Great Monday Give is only for you hardcore thrifters, so for those of you who aren't super fancy pants, it is a wonderful find! What is up for grabs this week if you don't mind the fact that it is missing the dust jacket and it has a corner or two that is a little worn and has the price of 99 cents scrawled in indelible ink on its cover is a perfect reading copy of The Complete Adventures of Curious George by Margret and HA Rey. This fat hardcover includes all seven of the original Curious George stories: Curious George, Curious George Takes a Job, Curious George Rides a Bike, Curious George Gets a Medal, Curious George Flies a Kite, Curious George Learns the Alphabet, and Curious George Goes to the Hospital. Really, you haven't lived until you've read all seven stories back to back. To be entered to win, you need simply to leave a comment on this post before midnight ~ Sunday ~ January 25. The following morning the winner will be announced.

Last week's winner? Why Julie DuRose of course. Please Julie, be a doll and e-mail me your 411 at webe(at)soon(dot)com and I will get your superfab copy of The Little House out as soon as humanly possible.

Bye for now! Oh wait. I can't believe none of you have taken me up on my Great Readers Write challenge. Tsk, tsk.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Death is Natural

Death Is Natural
Lawrence Pringle ~ Four Winds Press, 1977

Please be forewarned, this is going to be a somewhat downer post, but I promise redemption at the end. Those of you who read my other blog know that 2008 was the year of death at my house. First my mother's best friend was murdered, then my mother herself almost died, then my surrogate grandmother passed on. Part of it is unhappy circumstance, and part of it is that with the end of my thirties and the looming shadow of my forties, like my peers, I am faced with more and more death. The irony is, while I am still struggling to understand death and therefore the meaning of life, I am supposed to be able to explain it all to my child. Though I think I'm pretty good with explaining the cosmic ramifications and the achings of the heart, a book like this steps in to help explain how our existence ~ and therefore our death ~ is a natural part of the organic circle of life.

The idea of human extinction is not very pleasant. Humans have existed for four million years so far, a short time compared to dinosaurs or cockroaches. In the long view of the earth's history, however, the death of a species is no more remarkable than the death of one rabbit. Both are natural. Other living things survive, and change. The earth's elements flow on, from one living thing to another. There is beauty, variety, and change, and death helps make it all possible.

This book is stunning in its truth, and I am counting the seconds until my son will be able to grasp the deeper meanings here... when he'll have that "we are all star stuff" moment and feel at one with life and the universe. The story is written for children, and I am hoping that in the next few years, he'll really get into deeper thought like this. When I told him about the possible extinction of human life, he did reply, "Well, at least then we'll know what happened to the dinosaurs." That's a start for sure! (Beware though, there are a few black and white pictures of dead animals and such, so unless your kid is ready for a giant dose of reality, I'd wait a few more years.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Great Readers Write

Hey gang. I want to start up a new feature here at VKBMKL called The Great Readers Write. I get so tickled and moved by the stories and tidbits you guys comment with and send in, I thought it might be fun to occasionally post about a book that somebody else's kid loves.

That said, to be included, here are the requirements.

1) Write about a vintage book you or your family loves with the why, the how, the history, the whatever. You don't have to be a great writer, just a passionate one. It can be anywhere between 0 and 500 words long.

2) It can be a book that I have reviewed here before, however I would love it if you guys could dig deeper and show us something new! Can be any children's book for any age. Can be in-print or out-of-print, but the original pub date has to be at least 20 years old.

3) E-mail it to me at webe(at)soon(dot)com along with scans of a few pictures from the book and a scan of the cover. Or you can send a picture of your kid reading the book. Or the book on top of the Empire State Building. Whatever! You can send more pictures if you want, and if you don't have a scanner or a camera, no sweat too. I'll figure something out. No photo required.

4) Do include the name of the author and illustrator as well as the publisher's name and the original pub date.

5) Please include your name, or a fake name, and or a link to any blogs or Websites you might author.

Please keep in mind that I will more than likely edit your work on some level, and I may not use all entiries. I am not sure how often I will post these, probably depending on how many I get, but I will select my favorite entry and that lucky writer will win an awesome goody bag of vintage kids book stuff. If it works out, I hope to make this an ongoing feature!

That's about it. Have fun!


Taro Yashima ~ The Viking Press, 1958

There are two sorts of children's book I like the most. Those that are slightly haunting/creepy and those that make the parent cry at the end. The later is what we have here. Written and illustrated by the wonderful Japanese-born Taro Yashima (do click on his little Wiki bio... a fascinating guy), the book is seemingly about a girl who receives an umbrella for her third birthday and then can hardly stand waiting for the day when the first rain will arrive. The tale is filled with the gentle lull of patience, and the language is just lovely. When I read the written words that describe the sound the rain makes on her umbrella (bon polo ponpolo ponpolo), my son makes the most mysterious face as if I am telling him a wonderous secret.

But that isn't really why I love this book. So the girl gets the umbrella and she waits and she waits and she waits until at last the rain comes and then she is so proud to use her umbrella and she cherishes it and she loves it and it is a cute story and then... we arrive at the end...

Momo is a big girl now,
and this is a story
she does not remember at all.
Does she remember or not,
it was not only the first day in her life
that she used her umbrella,
it was also the first day in her life
that she walked alone,
without holding either
her mother's or her father's hand.

OK, now I am crying again just writing the words. Anyone who can write something so powerful and lasting that 50 years later they still make a mother weep is OK in my book.

Also by:
Crow Boy
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