Serendipity At Allentown PA Ephemera Show

Finding desirous books can be quite serendipitous. For example, last Saturday at a very large book and ephemera show in Allentown PA, I found three titles I never dreamed of locating within a reasonable budget, and certainly not in person. Maybe through bookfinder’s ABE., or Biblio, but on a table or shelf right in front … Read more

Primarily Basic Readers

Vera Stone (later Norman), one of the most prolific reader illustrators of all. From "Bob and Judy Reader", 1936. Illustrated by Vera Stone Norman.
Vera Stone (later Norman), one of the most prolific reader illustrators of all.
From “Bob and Judy Reader”, 1936. Illustrated by Vera Stone Norman.

By Kathie McMillan

I did not set out to collect primers. It began quite by accident when I found Friends from the Children’s Own Readers series, which was illustrated by Marguerite Davis,an illustrator I had never heard of. I was rummaging around in an unlikely flea market here in my own small rural town with the vague notion of finding material suitable to post on I had stumbled upon a community of people who posted vintage images from the early twentieth century, a period that I had always been interested in. I was very smitten by several contributors. When I had collected a few images for use in crafting, I decided that the least I could do was give back by posting a few images of my own. After all, I had spent hours back in those very early days of the World Wide Web searching for fairy images from the early twentieth century; and here they were all grouped together, like a giant picture book on my coffee table! It did not seem right to take and not to give back.

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Bookish Halloween Costumes

Hey, where’s the pork pie hat?

Once again, it is time for Halloweenie, and last minute costumes are being assembled. Why not dress up as your favorite literary character? I’d love to say this idea came to me out of the clear orange and black sky, but again, ABE led the way with their take on literary costumes. Some of their suggestions left me cold–as in, I have no idea what the book in question is about, let alone want to create a costume from a character. They suggest some of the usual suspects–Wizard of Oz types, Tom Sawyer, Ahab (must carry long harpoon) but most are original and offbeat. I’d never think of  being a character from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Universe, specifically because I’ve never bothered exploring the outer limits of the book. They suggest wearing a bathrobe and look confused. Hmm. I do like the idea of going as a giant ham, like Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, even if she was in a school pageant, with nothing to do with All Hallow’s Eve. Consider dressing as the psycho ‘nurse’ in Misery with some torture device in your hands, says ABE. I’d go one better–why not the nurse from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest? Uh, what did she wear, again? Besides sadism on her sleeve? They have another Stephen King novel– It. Gee, how original, a sociopathic clown–never see them on Halloween, duh. Hey–I have the perfect Cujo–my dog Louie–and he doesn’t need a special costume, his teeth says it all. I’m really  into the futuristic fireman from Fahrenheit  451. The ABE article suggested lugging a stack of books around.  Better yet–go as a bookseller, you could attach either a ladder to your body with books at the top or be covered in store and book dust with a huge cardboard box attached at the hip. And that stack of books.

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New York Is Book Country No More

One of the celebrated posters announcing the book fair.

New York hasn’t been book country since the tragic day of 9/11,  in my opinion.  Because of the security risks, a tradition died.  Every year the city would have a street fair full of books, authors, publishers, and people wandering up and down a particular part of Fifth Ave in late Sept. Although the fair did try to reestablish itself for a couple of years, after moving to The Village, and then Central Park, it lost much of its luster and girth and finally petered out.

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A Self Educated Lover Of Illustrated Children’s Books

My first taste of Golden Age Illustrators of children’s books, which is the period of the late 1800’s until a bit after World War I, was on a trip to England. My theatre class took the May term and traveled to London.  I had, and have a habit of buying art postcards from museums, tourist … Read more

Kate Greenaway–Too Cute For Comfort

  Another ABE e-mail came my way and I was surprised to see it was about the illustrator of children’s books, Kate Greenaway. Her work is everywhere-that’s what public domain can do for a long dead artist. I knew nothing about her life, the article at ABE sheds some light on it, and the fact … Read more

Are Some Booksellers Out of Register?

It happened again. I found a title with divine illustrations that I could afford, and ordered it from ABE or another seller on the bookfinder website. I eagerly mutilated the box tearing tape and cardboard in my haste to see the promised art. A Mother Goose naturally, this one illustrated by Edna Cooke, a new … Read more

Appreciating All Of Jack's Houses–Comparing Illustrators

Anne Anderson’s House That Jack Built is worlds apart from a Victorian’s book plate, or Art Deco vision, or a Golden Book’s mid century idea of what the perfect abode would look like in Mother Goose Land. Because of these differences it’s like a birthday, or holiday whenever a collector finds a new version of … Read more