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.