Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Child's Book of Birds

Child's Book Of Birds
Luis M. Henderson ~ Pied Piper Books, 1946

Do you remember my number one fan? My very first Internet friend who loves books and blogs about raising two boys in a small town in snowy Colorado? She guest-posted for me at my two year anniversary? Well, yesterday when the boy and I got home from going to Border's... wait, I know what you're thinking. 99% of my book buying is second hand and 99% of my "new" book money is spent at our local independent, but I did cut my teeth working in the B&N home office and believe it or not those places really are filled with the same book lovers you find at your small shops.... and every year before Christmas I have to troll the bargain section of the big boxes for gifts for those friends of the boy who are not impressed with dog ears and coffee stains, and man, did I find a good one... where else but a superstore are you gonna find a stack of brand spanking new copies of the big fat William Steig collection The One and Only Shrek Plus Five Other Stories originally priced at $29.95... now $4.99? Well friends, you're not. But I digress...

So, we get home, and what is on our doorstep but a package from said number one fan and her boys. She recently renovated her grandfather's old house and came across a singing bird clock she though the boy might love (which he does, totally!), but tucked in the package as well was a dear, dear surprise. Always on the look out for vintage children's books about birds, it's really a miracle I'd never seen this one before. But here it is. In all its delicate splendor.

The Red-Winged Blackbird seeks out swampy, marshy places where tall reeds and cat tails grow. Swaying on a cat tail he sings, "O-ka-lee, chee-ee, chee-ee, o-kee chee." Mr. Redwing is proud of his bright shoulder patches. He is very vain.

With more than 20 profiles of common backyard birds, it's a great blast from the way back past. I've always loved how old bird guide books give the animals human personalities and how they write out phonetically the way the bird's song sounds. So endearing.

Last night after dinner, I peeked in the dining room and my husband was reading it to the boy. After a day flooded with a ton of little boy action ~ including my son's first karate lesson ~ I was happy to see my sweet, bird-loving duckling was intact, despite the infusion of testosterone.

12 comments:

Amanda said...

Gorgeous illustrations! Looks like a fantastic book

Meghan said...

xoxo

caryn the designer said...

I got that William Steig book a couple weeks ago too! Love it!

celi.a said...

Those illustrations are absolutely fabulous. I remember my mom carefully showing me Audubon bird prints - but a children's book would have been perfect.

perilloparodies said...

Gorgeous and most worthy find!!!

vanessa said...

it's gorgeous!

Kevin Kidney said...

Wonderful story, and the book is beautiful. Thank you!

Cissy said...

Absolutely beautiful. My kids are becoming avid birdwatchers, thanks to a kindly neighbor who calls us to watch in his backyard.

(A little note: I look and look, but never seem to find the fantastic vintage books you do. Thank heavens I can enjoy them a little through your blog!)

Scribbler said...

About finding these books... I only find so much because I hit several stores/sales every week. I am always looking. Believe me, you don't want this obsession. Better to go every now and again and luck out than let it rule your life! I really try and not buy everything I see... I really only sell the stuff I've bought for my son but need to clean out because there is no room. If anyone is ever looking for something specific, let me know and I'll keep an eye out.

Kimberly said...

I'm a latecomer to this website, so you may have addressed this topic before, but I'm curious to know if you focus your searches and purchasing just on vintage kids' books, kids' books more generally, any books that strike your fancy... And what genres and authors do you like best for your own reading? I started thrift store book shopping when I was a graduate student in Los Angeles with very little time for recreational reading or money for new books. For the last decade I've done more book purchasing than reading, with the hope that someday I'll have time to read the vast collection I've amassed from thrift stores and garage sales! Anyway, don't feel obliged to answer my questions, though I am curious!

Scribbler said...

I would say 90 percent of the children's books I buy are vintage or at least old titles.... 10 being new titles, but used. We read new new books at the library, and only on my son's birthday and Christmas does he get brand new children's books... usually just new hard copies of classics...

as for me, i love to read nonfiction, memoirs mainly.

Kimberly said...

Thanks for answering my questions!

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