Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Tomi Ungerer ~ Harper, 1959 ~ reprinted Phaidon, 2011

Another in the previously mentioned Ungerer books with a one-word title--of an animal's name-- series... One where animal meets man. Animal befriends man. And animal ultimately saves the day. The series also includes Emile, Crictor, Rufus and Orlando. And again, I'm not totally sure if he meant them as a series, but they are certainly peas in a literary pod. This one is about a kangaroo born with wings.

Adelaide's parents were surprised when they saw that their daughter had wings. As Adelaide grew, her wings became larger and larger. She soon learned to fly. She liked to look at the birds and airplanes passing over the desert, and wished she could travel too.

Yes... with her wings comes wanderlust... one that takes her to the world of man, ultimately landing her in Paris. Fame and fortune find her, of course (she's a winged kangaroo, for goodness sake!)... but true celebrity awaits when she risks her life to save some children from a blazing fire.

Only then does she find happiness that's worth settling down for... Though his humor is somewhat sinister at times, Tomi's heart always rings true, finding virtue in the simplest of heroism and love in the unlikeliness of places.

Also by:
The Hat
Zarelda's Ogre
Seeds and More Seeds
The Three Robbers
Moon Man
Orlando The Brave Vulture
Christmas Eve at the Mellops'
I Am Papa Snap and These Are My Favorite No Such Stories
The Beast of Monsieur Racine
The Mellops Strike Oil
Book of Various Owls


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Monday, August 30, 2010


Not to overwhelm you with too much us, but head on over to ohdeeoh today to see an interview with you know who about you know what.


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The Fabulous Firework Family

The Fabulous Firework Family
James Flora ~ Harcourt, Brace & World, INC., 1955

With The Day the Cow Sneezed on the cusp of a reprint (it releases September 1) and all the amazing prints that are being shilled on his estate's Etsy page, I figured I'd better keep digging to make sure I'd covered all the Flora backlist in our collection. That said, meet one of my husband's favorite children's books. He grew up in San Antonio, where Mexican culture thrives north of the border, so the book has a special place in his heart. Utilizing loads of words in Spanish, it's the story of a family of firework makers who are commissioned to make the "very tallest, the every widest, and the very finest firework castle ever made by mortal man."

It must make more noise than thunder; more smoke than a volcano; and throw off more sparks than there are stars in heaven, to celebrate the birthday of Santiago our beloved patron saint.

An old Mexican tradition, I saw one of these castillos in San Miguel a few years back, but it wasn't quite as spectacular as the one depicted on these pages. Here, we follow Pepito, the small son in the family as he learns the trade... making the paper mache animals and skeletons, constructing the bamboo structure, and tying the fuses. But it would not be a true Flora without some flaming mishap and a botched robbery. In the end, Pepito comes of age and saves the day, in a book that is as spiritedly illustrated as it is fun to read. Flora was a madman and a genius. Any of his books I'd trade my left arm for. (Notice I said, left, not right. A girl's gotta have some shame.)

If you feel like getting a copy for your family, stay away from the 1994 reprint. Some of the original character gets lost in translation. And to see some full page spreads, head on over to the Curious Pages.

Also by:
Kangaroo for Christmas
Grandpa's Farm
Pishtosh Bullwash and Wimple
Great Green Turkey Creek Monster
Leopold the See-Through Crumbpicker
The Day the Cow Sneezed
Little Hatchy Hen
Grandpa's Witched Up Christmas
My Friend Charlie
Sherwood Walks Home
Stewed Goose


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Great Monday Give: Baby Animals

Good Monday everyone. In case anyone was wondering how my son's first week of school went, ponder no further. Or, if you're just here for the free stuff, read on... Yes, it's Monday again. The day when I walk to our bookshelves and pluck a vintage book from our collection to gift to one lucky reader. Today's free thing is a vintage copy of the Gyo Fujikawa board book classic, Baby Animals. To be entered to win this sweet book, all you have to do is comment on this post by Sunday, September 5th (September? ACK!) at 11:59 PM. A winner will be randomly selected and announced the next morning.

That said, the winner of last week's give of her very own copy of We Like Kindergarten is GinaChick. Congrats and send me your info to webe(at)soon.com.

On an end note, remember that the second Eyewitness Reports charity auction starts later on this morning featuring original art from famous and infamous children's book artists. Proceeds benefit 826LA, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit writing and tutoring center fronted by a fully-functioning convenience store for time travelers. I almost won the Mo Willems in the first auction, but then my wallet got the best of me! Maybe I'll get lucky and score some Dan Yaccarino this time... Oh, too... here's me on ohdeeoh.


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Friday, August 27, 2010

Mini Scholastic Books

Time for Dirty Old Paperback Friday. Ha! Just kidding. But seriously, who doesn't remember these half-size Scholastic books from way back when. (Do they still make them?) Ahhhh, back-to-school memories. Check it out and happy Friday kids!

The Magic Fish
by Freya Littledale ~ pictures by Ed Arno, 1967

Kenny's Monkey
Susan Singer ~ pictures by Harvey Weiss, 1963

The Riddle Kingdom
by Rose Wyler ~ pictures by Sylvie Selig, 1967

Congo Book: An African Folktale
retold by Mollie Clarke ~ Pictures by Beatrice Darwin, 1968

Indian Two Feet and His Horse
by Margaret Kriskey ~ Ezra Jack Keats, 1964

...if you grew up with Abraham Lincoln
by Ann McGovern ~ pictures by Brinton Turkle, 1966

Kangaroo Stew
by Norman Bridwell, 1978


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Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Mouse and the Lion

The Mouse and the Lion
Eve Titus ~ pictures by Leonard Weisgard
Parents' Magazine Press, 1962

Leonard Weisgard is one of those illustrators we tend to take for granted at our house. Maybe it's the fact that so many of his books are two-tone. Maybe it's that there's just just so many of them. But every once in a while, one of his books floats to the top of the heap and I'm once again reminded how awesome he is. Here, teamed up with the fabulous Titus... his stencils and chalk and muted colors fit nicely in a world where big is small and small is big.

When two creatures (lion and mouse respectively) decide they'd love to visit the land of people, a meddling fairy decides that the mouse would be too afraid of towering people and that people would run screaming from a ferocious lion.

Tears rushed to her eyes at the terrible thought. "How can I help these helpless people?" she asked herself, and the answer game at once. Waving her wand in the air, she whispered, "In the eyes of all people who look upon him, this lion will appear smaller than the smallest mouse!" Then her eyes twinkled. "There'll be a mixup today!" And away the fairy flew--right out of this book!

Yeah. Right out of this book and a world of trouble. This storybook switcheroo has everyone confused. The lion is totally misunderstood...

"Girls!, girls! Look at the teeny weeny lion!" "Isn't he precious!" said another. "The little doll! I'd like to do his hair up in curlers, and dress him in pink pajamas and pink hairbows, and wheel him around in my best doll carriage.

...and as for the mouse...


Phenomenal fun!

Also by:
The Quiet Noisy Book
Little Chicken
The Little Island
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
The Big Book of Nursery Tales
Treasures to See
Sir Kevin of Devon
The Secret River
Pilgrim Thanksgiving
Cynthia and the Unicorn


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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Update Wednesday: The Last of the Wizards

I recently got my hands on a first edition with the book jacket intact, so I figure it's time for an update. Welcome to Update Wednesday, the day when I reach back into the achives and update a post from back when I was too lazy to scan more than one picture. BEHOLD in all its glory, The Last of the Wizards by Rona Jaffe. Oh, and check out my first-day-of-school vintage book list on Flashlight Worthy.


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The Faber and Faber Flickr Archives

Got an e-mail this morning from Gemma at Faber and Faber in the UK alerting me to her Flickr page featuring vintage book jacket scans from the FF archives. WOW and DROOL and YUM and OH MY GOODNESS, all at the same time. Check out the awesomeness for yourself! (Here's a direct link to just the kids' books. TO DIE!)

Mrs. Easter and the Storks? Must find this book NOW!


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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Small Seabird

The Small Seabird
Roger Sargent ~ Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967

Again, here is a book and an author I know nothing about, but the boy and I get lost in the bold, primary colors every time. Not to mention a dear story about being swept up in the wind and lost from home.

One dark night a wind blew a small seabird far, far inland over the hills and mountains and thick green forest.

In the morning, when he looked around, he became a little frightened. He knew that he was lost. In every direction there was something new and different. There was nothing that even looked like the sea.
Our funny little three-toed friend spends the rest of the story trying to find his way home again, and meets a slew of curious creatures along the way. It's not until they smell the sea air on the wind that they figure out, sometimes the best way to get home again is to let yourself go. Literally. If anyone knows anything about this author, fill me in. The drawings are absolutely enchanting.


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Monday, August 23, 2010

Eyewitness Reports

Anyone looking for early Christmas presents for me should head on over to eBay and select anything from the Eyewitness Reports auction to benefit 826LA, a free literacy and writing center that was started by author Dave Eggers in San Francisco and then spun off in New York; Chicago; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Seattle; and Boston. The Los Angeles version is fronted and funded with the help of a convenience store for time-travelers. (I always stop off at the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. when I'm in the neighborhood.)

There will be two online auctions featuring artwork from 37 children's book illustrators inspired by the picture book Oh No! (Or how My Science Project Destroyed the World), written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Dan Santat. The first auction runs from today until the 27th, then the next, the 30th - 3rd. Just in case you have trouble deciding which one I'd like best, I'll take this one, and this one.... and um, this one. I'm not picky.


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Great Monday Give: We Like Kindergarten

First day of school.... ahhh. To celebrate my son's massive milestone today, I'll be passing our copy of the Wilkin classic We Like Kindergarten down to one of you readers, so hopefully it will help your child move to the next level some day. (I even updated my two-year-old post with some new scans.) To be entered to win, simply comment on this post between now and Sunday, August 29 at 11:49 PM. A randomly selected winner will be announced the following day.

As for the winner of Flix, that little treat goes to AStarrA. Congrats and send me your info to... webe(at)soon(dot)com. (And for those of you wondering, I only cried once... OK, twice, tops.)


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Friday, August 20, 2010


Arnold Lobel ~ Harper and Row, 1964

Sorry I've been MIA, but man, do you know how hard it is to find shoes for boys that are not horrifically ugly? I try and be thrifty and go everywhere and look at everything that's available, only to end up back at Whole Earth Provision shelling out $40-plus for shoes the boy will outgrow in a few months. That said, though it stings at first, it's always the right decision in the end to have cute, licensed character-free, eco-happy shoes to style in. Aren't they adorable? But we aren't here to talk about back-to-school or shoes.... we're here to talk about books, and since my son and I will be attending the evening performance of A Year with Frog and Toad, I figured today was a good day to reach into the Lobel archives and give the man some always-deserved love. Here we find a workhorse, Lucille, who is tired of being "dull and dirty"... that is, until one day, when the farmer's wife takes her under her wing... and while we're on shoes...

"Tomorrow we are going shopping in town," she says. Lucille takes the farmer and his wife to town. She sees a hat with pink roses in a store window. The farmer's wife buys the hat for Lucille. She sees many shiny shoes in a store window. The farmer's wife buys four shiny shoes for Lucille.

Pretty soon Lucille is all dolled up and far too fancy to work in the fields. But a life of skirts and tea parties and ladylike manners is not always what it's cracked up to be in this classic tale of the grass-is-always-greener. Now that the boy is reading in earnest, I've been clinging to these wonderful "An I Can Read Books" more than ever. The older ones are the perfect, hardcover size and the stories and illustrations almost always delightful. Kindergarten starts Monday and the boy's teacher has no idea of the tidal wave of books that are about to monsoon upon her. This one, however, I'm keeping for us.

Also by:
The Terrible Tiger
Red Tag Comes Back
The Ice-Cream Cone Coot
Oscar Otter
The Star Thief
Mouse Tales
Prince Bertram the Bad
The Secret Three
Benny's Animals
Miss Suzy


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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Sesame Street Bedtime Storybook

The Sesame Street Bedtime Storybook
Tony Geiss, Emily Perl Kingsley, David Korr, Jeff Moss, Robert Oksner, Patricia Thackray; pictures by Tom Cooke, A. Delaney, Joseph Mathieu, Marc Nadel
Random House, 1978

Yes, I am going to Sesame Street again, only because a) I always get so many positive responses to these old Muppet books and b) it's Wednesday and we're a mere five days away from kindergarten and less than 24 hours away from meet-the-teacher and c) well, I just feel like it, so bear with me. When has Joe Mathieu ever failed to get us through a hump-day, huh? Speaking of which, my favorite story here from when I was wee was "Grover, Messenger of Love", illustrated by the aforementioned Joe, and it still just kills me with silly. Part Romeo and Juliet ... part The Fantasticks... and ALL furry, lovable 'ole Grover.

Grover was skipping happily down the lane, strumming his lute, when he heard the sound of someone crying. It was a beautiful princess weeping by her garden wall.

"Do not cry, beautiful princess. I, Grover, will play you a happy tune on my cute little lute," he said.

"It won't help," she wailed. "I am crying because of this stupid wall."

I can't imagine a Sesame Street book using the word "stupid" nowadays, but c'est la vie. So yeah, said stupid wall keeps the lovely Lucretia from her handsome Lorenzo and it's up to Grover to transport messages and gifts from one side of the wall to the other till he is run positively ragged. Good fun.

In these pages you'll also find three stories where Oscar has a nightmare that flowers cover his trash can and all the world is clean; Cookie has a bad dream where cookies don't exist; and Count dreams he's forgotten how to count. Not sure what's up with the nightmare theme and how that's supposed to help kids go to sleep but anyways... There's also a story about Ernie losing his rubber duckie, Betty Lou lending a hand, Grover and his twenty-six scoops of ice cream, and my other favorite, "Silly Annabelle" about a little girl who tames a dragon through song.

I've always liked these books with a bunch of different artistic takes and styles on the same characters. Great time capsule.

Other Old Sesame Street Titles:
Sherlock Hemlock and the Great Twiddlebug Mystery
Grover and the Everything in the Whole Wide World Museum
The In and Out and All About Sesame Street Coloring Book
The Together Book
The Many Faces of Ernie
The Great Cookie Thief
Sesame Street 1,2,3 Story Book
The Amazing Mumford and His Amazing Subtracting Trick


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