Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Great Monday Give

Hey guys... two more days of kindergarten to go!

Tomorrow, my son's teacher will perform a magic trick that will transform him into a first grader, and this morning, he laughed hysterically at his first ever reading of Huevos verdes con jamón. (Yo soy Juan Ramón!)

Let the good times begin.

Sorry I missed posting the give yesterday, but Memorial Day called. The winner of the give involving a certain copy of The Animals of Farmer Jones is.... CanCan. E-mail me at webe(at)soon(dot)com with your mailing info and congrats!

As I said before, I am taking a break from the give for a few weeks as we adjust to summer around here. The next give will be on June 27, but I'll still be here daily posting on books.

Have a great last week of school all you people who are almost done!

Monty Mouse looks for adventure

Monty Mouse looks for adventure
Etsa de Fossard ~ Haworth Bartram
Childerset, 1976

Honestly, I don't know much about this book, though I have a vague memory of either a reader or someone at We Heart Books mentioning the series. I know the author is Australian (as is the book, I believe), but if there is any lore surrounding its taxidermy beginnings, I know it not.

All dead mice aside, the story is pretty hilarious, and once I spotted it in the thrift shop the other day, I started salivating for the rest in the series, in particular, Huff the Grumbling Pigeon. Stellar.

Monty was a mouse who loved adventure. But his mother didn't. She said adventures often bring more trouble than they are worth. She wanted him to do sensible things, like making his bed and washing the dishes. Worst of all she made him take a bath occasionally.

Monty hated talking a bath.

Well, once Monty decides he's done with baths, the only other logical option is to head out on his own in search of something awesome. He meets a puppy who shows him the delectable nature of porridge. Then, he attempts to untrap a mouse trap, gets doused in sugar and steals a skate full of pastries, before almost being crushed by a donut and swept away. And can you guess where he ends up?

Right back in the bath.

Though I don't necessarily agree with the non-adventuring moral of the story, it's probably smart to keep a young mouse on a short leash, no matter how dead said mouse already is.


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Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Adventures of Tintin

Just a note to say that after seeing the Tintin trailer online last week, I was unimpressed. However, we saw Kung Fu Panda 2 today, and they showed the trailer beforehand and it looks a hundred times better on the big screen. Here's hoping Spielberg hits it home!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Update Friday: The Red Balloon

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I walked into our local independent children's bookshop (formerly and magically called The Red Balloon) and ordered a copy of this book for my unborn son. To say the impact of it and the movie on me as a child was huge is an understatement. I almost can't even think about them without getting misty and full of nostalgia. No child should be without the memory of this story in their mind.

The best of the best.

Update Friday (the day when I update old posts with fancy new pictures) welcomes a post from back in '07 with all new scans and some new words. Literally, I had to restrain myself from scanning the whole book.

The Red Balloon. Every moment, picture and morsel, absolute perfection.


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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bonnie Bess The Weathervane Horse

Bonnie Bess the Weathervane Horse
Alvin Tresselt ~ Erik Blegvad
Parents' Magazine Press, 1970

With the weather being as heartbreaking and insane as it's been the past month here in the U.S., I thought it appropriate to take a look at this sometimes heartbreaking but ultimately redeeming tale of things lost and found.

Bonnie Bess was a trotting horse.
She didn't live in a barn with other horses.
She didn't carry little children on her back.
She didn't graze in the pasture on the hill.
She didn't even drink out of the big water trough in the backyard.
Bonnie Bess was a weathervane horse and
she swung back and forth in the wind on top of a barn.

As most of you know, I'm a huge fan of Blegvad's tight little drawings, and have a ton of books that he illustrated for other people that I've never even bothered to read. I just like looking at the pretty pictures. Here though, Tresselt (White Snow Bright Snow) does an excellent job of telling the story of a once flourishing and then abandoned barn and the weathervane that gets left behind. Shot at and rusted out, when it finally falls from the rotting building, it's lost in the bushes until a junk shop owner finds it, setting it on a long path back home.

The copyright page says the story was written in 1949, so it must have appeared in a book with a different illustrator or as a poem or story somewhere. Anyone know?

Having always lived someplace with a barn in the vicinity, I love weathervanes. Ahhh, the romance of a two-purpose item with the goals of simply looking pretty and telling us which way the wind blows. Kinda the Vanna White of decorative items, no?

Also by:
Plenty of Fish
Mud Pies and Other Recipes
A Year is a Window
The Last of the Wizards
The Diamond in the Window
The Mitten
The Land of Lost Buttons
White Snow Bright Snow


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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Light Princess

The Light Princess
George MacDonald ~ William Pène du Bois
Thomas Y. Crowell, 1962

Since it's Tuesday and there is still so much to be done, I'll cut right to the chase. In this Scottish fairy tale, a young princess is cursed by an evil aunt and loses her gravity...

When the strange fact came to be known, there was a terrible commotion in the palace. The occasion of its discovery by the king was naturally a repetition of the nurse's experience. Astonished that he felt no weight when the child was laid in his arms, he began to wave her up and-- not down; for she slowly ascended to the ceiling as before, and there remained, floating in perfect comfort and satisfaction, as was testified by her peals of tiny laughter.

The words by the poet master seem almost ancient compared to today's language, yet they spin a wondrous tale of romance and mystery. When the princess grows up both light in body and heart, a young prince woos her and vows to bring her back to earth through her tears. Alas, the evil aunt seems set on foiling their plans. When she discovers that the princess loves the water because in it, she is normal again, the aunt sets in motion a series of events that have our fair prince nearly sacrificing his own life to make the princess happy. Fantastic.

Accompanied by fabulous du Bois illustrations, I love reading books like this to my son, for no other reason than to teach him to love things more complex and poetic. (Side note, the story was also illustrated famously by Maurice Sendak AND is currently being developing as a musical by the British National Theatre, with Tori Amos writing the music. Wow.)

Also by:
The Runaway Flying Horse
Bear Party
Otto in Texas


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Monday, May 23, 2011

Great Monday Give: The Animals of Farmer Jones

Happy Monday, all. With barely more than a week left of school here in South Texas, this will be my last Great Monday Give until June 27... so let's make it super great! Up for grabs today is a dear Little Golden Book from 1942 illustrated by Richard Scarry, The Animals of Farmer Jones. It's a later edition but still vintage and fabulous!

All you have to do to be entered to win is comment on this post before Sunday, May 29th at 11:59 PM. A winner will be selected at random and announced the following morning... like I'm about to do right now.

The winner of last week's give of Who's Got the Apple? is Lise. Congrats and send your info to webe(at)soon(dot)com.

Thanks all!


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Friday, May 20, 2011

Update Friday: The Big Honey Hunt

Update Friday is the very first Berenstain Bears book, which I'm just showing off because last year I found a mess of dust-jacketed first edition Beginner Books, including this one. Reaching back to May 2008 for an update, please welcome Papa Bear and Small Bear in all their old school glory, The Big Honey Hunt!


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Goodbye Mommy Blog

Hello to the 20 or so of you who are in the erratic habit of reading my other blog....

After mommy-blogging since 2006 on Scribbling in San Antonio, I've finally gone private. My son's going to be in real school now, and there's all kinds of dirt on there that might be used against him in a bully court-of-law.

I'll be professionally blogging instead here at burginstreetman.com.

Now, when I say "professionally", it doesn't mean that I'll actually be getting paid to blog or that I won't be writing about all the other things I usually write about. It just means I'll be leaving my child out of it.

For my friends who want to still read about the Hub/Bub on occasion, e-mail me and I will add you to the invite list. For all those who want to hear the witty commentary of a late-30 something ya-ya who is trying to get her first book published... proceed here.

And for all those who couldn't give a rat's butt and just want me to shut up already and scan some books, thanks, as always, for giving a hoot on any level. Fear not, I'll be here yakking about vintage children's books until I run out or die, probably, so, happy happy!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Green Says Go

Green Says Go
Ed Emberley ~ Thomas Y. Crowell, 1966

Since I've been rambling around getting reminded of Ed Emberley of late, I thought I'd pick another of his earlier works to conjure up and share. His seventh book to be precise. How do I know this, you ask? Well, Ed does something not a lot of old school authors do, in that his Website lists every book he's ever published, in chronological order with notes to mark reprints. (The Berenstain site keeps a handy tally, as well.) Pretty fancy.

That said, this is a fab color book with an artist's eye and supremely fun illustrations. The first few pages are spent going over primary colors then watching those colors blend into the secondary ones, then boiling over into what those colors can actually "say".

On a traffic light, green says "GO."
Yellow says "Watch out I'm going to change to red" and red says "STOP."
On a car, white says "I am coming toward you."
Red says "I am going away from you."

Purple says "I'm angry."
White says "I'm afraid."
Red says "I'm embarrassed.
Green says "I'm jealous."
Blue says "I'm sad."
Pink says "I feel great."

I love, love, love some Ed Emberley, and holy moly is this book rad. I'm sure Kim, Lori, Greg and Jason can attest, wherever they are.

And in a totally unendorsed shout out, how cool is Demco? I can't speak for all the librarians out there, but since 1905, these guys have been shilling necessities to the good folks at your local library. Plus, their book tape is a must for vintage enthusiasts like myself. Just saying'.

Also by:
Klippity Klop
Story of Paul Bunyan
The Wing on a Flea

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lilibet Circus Child

Lilibet, Circus Child
Astrid Lindgren ~ Anna Riwkin-Brick
Macmillan, 1966

I was so intrigued by this book when I purchased it at a library sale because A) I can't help myself with books about the circus and B) I LOVE children's books told through photography. Written by the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren of Pippi Longstocking fame, this a story in photographs of a wee circus girl name Lilibet. Published first in 1961, Astrid's Website gives further explanation of the creative relationship she had with the photographer.

"Anna Riwkin was born in 1908 in Russia, but grew up and made her career in Sweden. She is probably best remembered for her photographic books about children in different countries. The collaboration with Astrid Lindgren began with Noriko-San: Girl of Japan (1956) and continued with a string of photographic picture-books – My Swedish Cousins (1959), Circus Child (1960), to name but a few. What was characteristic of Anna Riwkin was her deep insight into the things that all people can relate to – things that we all have in common."

Now first, I wanna say, hers might be the swankiest writer's Website I've ever come across. The design is so simple, yet elegant, made all the more classy by the fact that each of her illustrators has been given their own autobiographical page. Whoever put the site together has done an excellent job of cataloging her work with loads of autobiographical information and photographs. Just sublime... but but back to the book at hand.

Lilibet is a circus child and her parents watch after the horses, thus, she dreams one day of becoming a circus equestrienne.

I'm Lilibet, and I have lots of horses.
"They're not your horses," says Leo. "They belong to the circus."
"That doesn't matter," I say. They're mine anyway."
Sometimes I get awfully angry with Leo. But I play with him everyday.

This clever tale follows Lilibet among the caravans as she visits "her" elephants, talks with the clowns, laments that monkeys and tigers have to be kept in cages, and of course, rides horses. The banter among Lilibet and her friends is competitive, but playful as they each seek to find a place for themselves among the circus folk.

When at last a clown gives her a magic string, telling her that if she ties it to the tail of a horse, her equine dreams will come true, she embraces the magic while at the same time understands that she has years of training ahead. Anytime we get to glimpse the unique life of a young person, I'm always tickled. That this little person's life was somehow frozen in time in a book is a marvel.

Boy, would I love to get my hands on some more of these in this series. She did a lot with Astrid (Matti Lives in Finland, Gerda Lives in Norway, Sia lives on Kilimanjaro - etc.) but also continued on in the series with other authors. Very cool. The only books in the last decade or so that have been done similarly are the Children Just Like Me books from DK. Can anyone think of anything else? I sure would love to see someone revive a series like this for today's children. What an amazing photo journey that would be.


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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Wizard

The Wizard
Bill Martin Jr. ~ Sal Murdocca
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970

Now, nothing saddens me more than a WITHDRAWN library book that is a first edition, more than forty years old, crisp and seemingly uncracked, with a book card in the back without one, single signature or stamp. To think of all the years that little book sat on the shelf, untouched and unread, only to be chucked years later in the discard pile.

This one's a tiny book, so I imagine once it was shelved, it was lost behind other larger, more exciting titles and always overlooked. All I can say is the kids at the Hill Country Montessori School really missed out.The beloved author of the Eric Carle classic series including Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, this is what you would describe as an early reader... its pages a litany of all the two-word things one wizard can do.

I dance.
I sing.
I run.
I wing.
I skip.
I jump.
I hop.
I hump.

Now, get your mind out of the gutter, because this book is an absolute delight, both in its simple rhymes and its sweet watercolors by the artist who famously illustrates the Magic Tree House series. If your young reader loves wizards (you know our house in on board with that), you can't help but be charmed by this fluid little man as he disappears right into your heart. Cute, right?

Also by:
Welcome Home Henry


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Monday, May 16, 2011

Great Monday Give: Who's Got the Apple?

Soooooo, in my race to order this book last month, I inevitably ended up with two. I often do this. Bid on something on eBay only to forget about it and then end up buying it somewhere else.... then, a few days later, a "YOU WON" e-mail comes in and, d'oh! Alas, the winner of my over-order will be one of you lucky peeps. That said, for the Great Monday Give, one reader will be walking home with their very own copy of Who's Got the Apple? To be entered to win this awesome and collectable vintage paperback, simply comment on this post between now and Sunday, May 22 at 11:59 PM. A winner will be selected at random and announced the next morning. Like this...

And the winner of last week's give of The Monster at the End of This Book is Sarah! E-mail me your info to webe(at)soon(dot)com and congrats!


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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Guest Post: A Boy Named John

As previously mentioned, I've offered to let readers guest post about some of their favorite children's books. Meet Jill who has recently taken on the mantel of attempting to chronicle her beloved collection on a blog called The Art of Children's Picture Books. Welcome her and have a fabulous day!

A Boy Named John
Ruth and Roland Tiemann ~ Platt & Monk, 1948

I don't think I could pick a favorite book of mine. When it comes to vintage children's picture books, I'm like a kid in a candy store. But I chose A Boy Named John for a guest post because I read it to my son, John, when he was young. It seems appropriate as Burgin's blog is about books that she finds and reads to her son.

For a child reading this, even now, it is entertaining while teaching about kids in other countries. An updated version of this would be really fab, because the concept is timeless and also I think, very appealing to children.

I like the layout of this book. On the left page of each spread there is a short snippet about what life was like for a boy who lived in that particular country. I think the handwriting with the small illustrations is fun and a nice contrast to the right hand page. This page shows a boy dressed in the style of his country with some architecture in the background. In the corner is the country's flag. Simple, neat, effective and well drawn!

My book doesn't have a dj, but I found one on Amazon and have included it. In doing a quick search I didn't find any information about Ruth or Roland Tiemann, but it appears Roland was the author and Ruth the illustrator.

I couldn't resist including a picture of my own John when he was little. Where did that little boy go to? Well, he's almost 17 and a junior in high school. Drives us crazy sometimes. (teenagers, sigh)

Hey, Burgin here. I did a little snooping about the authors as I'm kind of obsessed with the idea of two artists being married and working together.... seems so romantic, but anyways... the only real mention I could find was a brief one in the obituary of their son, a physicist who died in 2006 -- an only child with the middle name Johnson. If anyone knows anything about these two chime in, as any couples that live to be 94 and 96, respectively, should be applauded for their efforts!


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