Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2011 Issue

Children's Works from Aleph-Bet Books

Aleph96

Rhode Island Red on the cover of Aleph-Bet's latest catalogue.

Aleph-Bet Books has issued its Catalogue 96 of Children's Books and Illustrated Books. Once again, they have compiled a collection of 600 items, all illustrated in color, almost all of which fit the "children's" part of the title. A great many are classic books or classic children's authors, while others are obscure but old, often subtly or not so subtly promoting the values of their day. Indeed, you can often best understand the values of adults of an era by reading the stories and parables they read to their children. Here are some of the books for children Aleph-Bet has available this time.

 

Item 59 is a rare L. Frank Baum book that most clearly makes the connection between Lewis Carroll's earlier Alice absurdist fantasies and Baum's own world of Oz. The title is A New Wonderland, and it was the first children's book Baum wrote, though not the first published. Various publisher issues kept the book on the shelf until this first issue here offered was published in 1900. Rather than Wonderland, Baum's first adventures were set in "Phunnyland." He used to make up stories to tell his children. His family encouraged Baum to write them down and take them to a publisher, advice which turned out be very wise. The illustrator for this book was Frank Ver Beck, and while John Neill would illustrate most of Baum's Oz books to great acclaim, the author believed that Ver Beck had done the better job of depicting his characters the way Baum saw them. Priced at $7,500.

 

Item 330 is sort of a first of perhaps the greatest children's message book of all time, one you undoubtedly read to your children. It is the 1930 edition "retold by Watty Piper" (a pseudonym) and illustrated by Lois Lenski of The Little Engine That Could. We say sort of a first edition as this story in various forms had been bouncing around for years, and this edition described it as retold from M.C. Bragg's Pony Engine. This is, of course, the story of the little switch engine that hauled the big train over the mountain when more powerful engines either could not or would not. The little engine kept repeating the classic mantra, "I think I can," until it finally made it to the other side. We all hoped our children would learn its message of determination and perseverance, but they probably just took it as another entertaining tale. $1,500.

 

That illustration you see on the cover of this catalogue is the original artwork for William Joyce's dust jacket illustration for Stephen Manes' 1989 book Some of the Adventures of Rhode Island Red. Rhode Island Red, as the artwork implies, was implausibly born to a family of chickens. In this drawing, he has just hatched from his egg, to the great astonishment of the chickens. Item 315. $5,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>

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