Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle and Who Was in It

The Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle and Who Was in It
Carl Sandburg ~ Harriet Pincus ~ Harcourt, Brace & World, 1967

Being a child of the American South, I've always loved the beauty of the place, despite some of its sad cultural histories. One of my favorite places to visit when I was young was the Carl Sandburg House in western North Carolina, now a National Historic Site and part of the parks system. It's a lovely old home and farm, and I remember being wee and marveling over the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer's library as well as the lovely leather bound first editions of his most famed work for children, The Rootabaga Stories.

When I was at a library sale the other day, I was happy to stumble across this delightfully-bizarre picture book version of one of the stories. Most of the stories in the collection are strange by today's standards, and each tale has a long, wonderfully-quirky title like The Toboggan-to-the-Moon Dream of the Potato Face Blind Man or The Story of Jason Squiff and Why He Had a Popcorn Hat, Popcorn Mittens and Popcorn Shoe or Three Boys With Jugs of Molasses and Secret Ambitions or The Two Skyscrapers Who Decided to Have a Child or How the Animals Lost Their Tails and Got Them Back Traveling From Philadelphia to Medicine Hat, and of course, this one...

The Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll and the Broom Handle and Who Was in It.

And the story is just that. The Broom Handle and the Rag Doll fall in love and...

There was a wedding when the Rag Doll married the Broom Handle. It was a grand wedding with one of the grandest processions ever seen at a rag doll wedding. And we are sure no broom handle ever had a grander wedding procession when he got married.

Yes, first came the Spoon Lickers, licking their spoons filled with various things like butterscotch, gravy and marshmallow fudge. Next, the Tin Pan Bangers, banging away on, well, tin pans. The Chocolate Chins with chocolate slickered all over their chins. The Clean Ears with not a speck of nothing on their precious lobes. The Easy Ticklers crying "Don't tickle me because I'm so easy to tickle." The Musical Soup Eaters. The Dirty Bibs. The Chubby Chubs. The Sleepyheads. Oh, yes! A fine motley crew if ever there was one.

If you think the story sounds weird and the pictures a bit dodgy, you'll chuckle at a few of the reviews I lifted off of Google.

"This is the most ****** up children's book ever, but also the best."

"This was a wierd book that we had when I was growing up. I kind of liked it, but kind of thought it was psychotic. Can't really put my finger on how I feel about it."

That about says it all!

Also by:
Tell Me a Mitzi


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Monday, January 30, 2012

Moose, Goose and Little Nobody

Moose, Goose and Little Nobody
Ellen Raskin ~ Four Winds Press, 1974

Similar in theme to the PD Eastman classic, Are You My Mother?, here, instead of a bird we have a wee mouse who's lost his way... and his identity.

One day a big wind blew.
Trees fell and a gas pump flew.
From somewhere a red roof spun through the air
and came down with a BUMP!
"What is that?" said Moose to Goose.
"It's a gas," said Goose, "my good friend Gas."
"Hello, Gas." said Moose, "howdy-do."
"I am not a gas," said the little one in the red roof,
"I am a moose... I think."

Well, of course the white mouse isn't a moose, but that will take some proving. So the three friends set out to reunite the mouse with his people and make everything right with the world.

Wonderful line illustrations with bold inking, graphic designer and artist Ellen Raskin illustrated dozens of books including the first edition of L'Engle's classic, A Wrinkle in Time. I've only been able, so far, to find her books in paperback, but I'll keep looking. I have to imagine the original editions had stunning color!

Also by:
Nothing Ever Happens on My Block


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Great Monday Give: 25 Mystery Books cont...

If you haven't yet, make sure to enter the Great Monday Give this week to win a mystery package of 25 vintage books! You can do so by clicking, here.

Also, I just started on Pinterest for you kids who hang out on there. Be sure and send me your links so I can follow you. I'd love to know what you guys are looking at.

Have a great one!


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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rain Makes Applesauce

Rain Makes Applesauce
Julian Scheer ~ Marvin Bileck ~ Holiday House, 1964

Penned by famed NASA man and sometime children's book author, Julian Scheer, I always avoided this book until I found a first edition hardcover, recently. I'm not sure why I avoided it. Sometimes, if I see a book too often in too many places, I never bother to crack the spine. In this case, I used to see it all the time but never opened it up. Then a few readers mentioned it, and as soon as I started looking, it stop appearing. But I figure, there was a reason why I waited this long to fall in love. There always is.

It helps that I have a thing for old books with author photos on the jacket. Who wouldn't love this man flanked by so many adorable kiddies!?!


Enter a lyrical little poem about dreams and love and the fantastical nature of life itself, illustrated in a style as whimsical as the theme.

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
Dolls go dancing on the moon
and rain makes applesauce

It's exactly this sort of "silly talk" that helped Rain Makes Applesauce win a Caldecott Honor Award in 1965, and made it a classic that remains in print today. So glad it finally found me.


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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pumpernick and Pimpernell

Pumpernick and Pimpernell
Lilo Fromm ~ Doubleday, 1967

Sorry I was out for a day, but my scanner was down... until tonight! Up late to bring you a sweet and crazy story about two friends who have a lovely little life together. A garden. A wee little house. An adorable doggy. Until one day...

...something strange happened. A noise they had never heard before was coming from the house. It was like the breathing of a horse with a bad cold. They all jumped up to see what it could be. And what did they see but a great huge mouse asleep on the roof, snoring so hard it made the whole house shake!

Just when you think that a giant blue mouse on the roof was weird, Pete the Drifter shows up, laughing and shouting with a rooster under his arm. Next, the Noise Man arrives with his junk cart. And yes, as you might imagine, a fight ensues between the mouse, the drifter and the Noise Man... leaving Pumpernick and Pimpernell to clean up the mess.

Brought to us by the artist Fromm who also illustrated the German classic The Golden Bird, I've read this book again and again, searching for what the moral might be, but alas... who cares! She created a story so rad and strange and colorful that it doesn't need to teach us anything except that weirdos will steer clear of your house if you put up a sign that reads "Keep Out! Biting Dog!"

Ten kinds of AWESOME!


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Monday, January 23, 2012

Great Monday Give: 25 Mystery Books

In anticipation of spring cleaning here in Texas, I am going to be hosting the biggest, baddest Great Monday Give EVER.

I actually need to make room on my son's shelves, so I am offering up a mystery box of 25 books. I'm not yet sure what they'll be, but rest assured, the package will be awesome. The best part is, you'll have three ways to win.

One... Comment on this post as usual.

Two... Follow me on Twitter and then post about the Giveaway using the hash tag #vintagekidsbooksrule.

Three... friend me on Facebook and post a comment saying you want to win on my wall.

I'll pick one name from each of these avenues (could be the same person) and then randomly pick a winner from the three. By entering the give all three ways, it ups your chances of winning.

The give will run for two weeks, so you have plenty of time. Enter between now and Sunday, February 5 at 11:59 PM. A winner will be announced the following day.

I promise the box will be filled with all sorts of vintage goodies! Good luck, gang.

(If you are outside of the US, you can still enter to win, but if you win, I would ask that you cover shipping. Fair?)

(And the winner of last week's give is Patricia! E-mail me at webe@soon.com with your info.)


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Ingri & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire ~ Doubleday, 1948

The dynamic duo of the d'Aulaires created countless classics and two children, Ola and Nils, and (I'm assuming) each child, in turn, received a book named as such.

Or was it the other way around? Hmmmmmmm.

No matter. With illustrations lithographed directly on stone and printed in four colors, I can never turn down one of their books so lush in tone and rich in personality. Here, we have a strangely-timely tale of bullying, 1940s-style.

There once was a boy and his name was Nils.
He was longlegged and gay and his schoolmates called him a regular fellow.
He had a pony all his own.
He was going to be a cowboy when he grew up.

From Norwegian blood, the young Nils loved to ride his horse and tell tall tales. But when he's given a pair of woolen stockings from his grandmother in the old country, he's teased mercilessly and throws them away, fearing he'll never be a tough cowboy in long stockings.

That is until he meditates of the story of Peer Gynt, riding his reindeer and generally being manly, and decides he can be a Norwegian cowboy no matter what anyone thinks of his long, knitted stockings.

My copy is an ex-library book from the Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana Public Library with possibly the prettiest end papers and card pocket I've ever seen.

Not to mention I've never noticed the delightfully romantic and intertwined signature at the bottom of some of their illustrations. Ola and Nils were lucky kids to have parents so talented and full of color. Love it when couples create together.

Ten thumbs up!

Also by:
D'Aulaire's Book of Animals
D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths
The Terrible Troll-Bird
Benjamin Franklin
Don't Count Your Chicks


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Friday, January 20, 2012

Update Friday: Learning About Sizes

Taking today to enjoy Update Friday, the day where I pick a post from the archives, back in the day before I showed loads of scans and such, and make it all shiny and new with scans and additional commentary.

Please welcome, Learning About Sizes.



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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ann Can Fly

Ann Can Fly
Fred Phleger ~ Robert Lopshire ~ Random House, 1959

In keeping with the theme of Robert Lopshire from yesterday, I offer up this snapshot of 1950s stereotyped perfection.

This is a big day for Ann. Her father will take her to camp in his new airplane. Ann has never gone up in an airplane. "Will it be fun?" she asks. "Will I like it?" Her father laughs.

Will she like it? D'uh. Notice the doting look she gives her handsome father throughout the story. As he teaches her to read the air map. As he casually looks the plane over before take off. As he teaches her about gauges and wheels and whatnot. His faint smile in the eye of the storm.

Gee, isn't he proud of her? And isn't it every girl's dream to have a pops who can fly you into summer camp and land you on the lake in front of your girlfriends, all while looking so dashing?

All kinds of awesome.

I love the angles Lopshire took in these drawings, showing the plane from so many different perspectives, giving the reader a feeling of always being above or below the action.

Really, I love this book for so many reason, it's hard to quantify. The colors. The happiness. The sky. If all father/daughter relationships were this genteel and trusting...

Oh, what a wonderful world.

Also by:
Red Tag Comes Back
How to Make Flibbers
A Beginner's Guide to Building and Flying Model Airplanes


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