Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2015 Issue

Children's Tales from Aleph-Bet Books

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Children's Books.

Aleph-Bet Books recently released their Catalogue 111 of Children's Books & Illustrated Books. This catalogue is filled with items of wonder and amazement. From Seuss to Sendak, Disney to Dahl (and dolls), there are picture books here to fill the imagination of generations of young people. Then again, there is the dark side – Nazi, Fascist, Communist propaganda, the worst designed to fill young minds with hate. Other books are demeaning to certain groups of people if not downright racist. The books we presented our children tell more about us than them. Here are a few, good and bad.

 

No one was ever better at constructing strange worlds from illogical logic than Lewis Carroll (actual name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson). Item 75 is a first edition of his 1869 Phantasmagoria and Other Poems. It is inscribed to his sister, Mary Dodgson. As usual, he got around the Carroll/Dodgson issue by inscribing it "with the author's love," though one would think he could have used his actual name with her. His diary indicates he sent out 28 copies to family and friends on January 7, 1869, this likely being one. Dodgson and his sister were close. She married just a few months after Phantasmagoria was published, and her son, Stuart, wrote the first biography of Carroll, published in 1898 (the year he died). Priced at $7,500.

 

Racial stereotypes could still be brutal back in 1946, with versions of the old "Ten Little..." depictions of black children still being published. This one is a surprise: Corky's Pet Parade, by Maggi Fiedler. It is the story of Corky, a black boy, and his pet chicken. Corky goes out to a playground where he befriends white and other races of children, while his pet chicken, Beulah, wins the pet contest. I'm not sure which of these was less likely in 1946, but this book was well suited to help teach tolerance and equality to a nation still years away from the court decision desegregating its schools. Item 47. $200.

 

Not all was so uplifting in the 1940's. It was a time of the worst of the worst. Item 234 is a poster published in 1940 for use in German schools by the Teacher's Association of the Reich Government. The heading is Die Juden in Der Welt (the Jews in the world). It is filled with anti-Semitic rantings, photos, and illustrations, designed to instill hatred in children. The writing came from the pen of Johann von Leers, a member of the SS who was hired by Goebbels to write for the propaganda ministry. $1,850.

 

Here is a much better item for children from that same year of 1940. It is Christmas, a story by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. There wasn't much of anything Mrs. Roosevelt didn't try to do to make the world better. Here, she tells the story of a Dutch girl living in her homeland that has been conquered by the Nazis, her father killed in the war. Mrs. Roosevelt felt we needed to be honest with children about what is happening in the world. At the same time, she presented a message of love and hope to encourage children to provide light to the world in even the darkest times. The illustrations were provided by German artist Fritz Kredel, who fled from the horrors of his homeland in 1938. This copy was inscribed by Mrs. Roosevelt. Item 396. $2,850.

 

This book should help straighten out the children: Dr. Watts's Plain and Easy Catechisms for Children and Preservative from the Sins and Follies of Childhood Youth. The 1797 book includes some explanations and prayers to help steer youth from their sinful and foolish ways. Dr. Watts explains the work is intended "to furnish some introductory easy and concise forms of knowledge...upon the minds of children in a way more suited to their feeble capacities." I always thought it was bad form to insult your customers. Item 141. $1,200.

 

Harry Frees showed more respect for his cats than Dr. Watts did for children, or at least he so claimed. Item 338 is Frees' photo illustrated book, The Pot of Gold at Rainbow's End. It is the story of Tommy Toddles, a naughty kitten who gets into all kinds of trouble. The photographs consist of pictures of cats dressed up as humans and posed to illustrate various behaviors. This was 1932, so Frees actually had to dress up and pose his cats, this being the pre-Photoshop era. However, Frees reassures us that his subjects were all treated with the utmost respect. $250.

 

From the doctor we go to the doctor's wife. Item 41 is Do You Know What I'm Going to Do Next Saturday? published in 1963. This book also used photographs to display what the boy its subject plans to do next Saturday. The writer was Helen Palmer, who was the wife of everyone's favorite "doctor," Dr. Seuss. $125.

 

Speaking of the good doctor, we conclude with a book that isn't for children at all. This is a Seuss book for adults. Good thing, because we all want to read Dr. Seuss, but can't find an excuse to do so once our children have grown. Item 416 is Seuss' You're Only Old Once! This is a first edition, one of 500 copies signed by Seuss. It was released when he was 82 years old. Seuss (actual name Theodore Geisel), suffering the infirmities of old age, was forced to spend way too much time in hospital waiting rooms. He didn't much enjoy it. Seuss began sketching the machines he saw and various hospital procedures, adding his Seussian touch to the illustrations. He must have been the only beloved doctor with the patients in those hospitals. $650.

 

Aleph-Bet Books may be reached at 914-764-7410 or Helen@alephbet.com. Their website is found at www.alephbet.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> <i>Keep Calm and Carry On</i>, designer unknown, 1939. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, <i>Le Journal / La Traite des Blanches</i>, 1899. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> <i>"Let Us Go Forward Together,"</i> designer unknown, 1940. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, <i>Babylone d'Allemagne</i>, 1894. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Frank Beatty, <i>Out of the Running</i>, 1929. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>Wake Up America Day</i>, 1917. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> <i>Danté / Sim • Sala • Bim!</i>, designer unknown. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>[Zodiac]</i>, 1900. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Rick Griffin, <i>Jimi Hendrix Experience / John Mayall</i>, 1968. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Abram Games, <i>Join the ATS</i>, 1941. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Aldo Mazza, <i>Torino / Esposizione Internazionale</i>, 1911. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 2:</b> Robert Motherwell, <i>Julliard School / Dedication - Lincoln Center</i>, 1969. $3,000 to $4,000
  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>Booth & Williams: NO RESERVE Rare Book Auction, now through July 23, 7:15PM EDT</b>
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> John Muir. <i>My First Summer in the Sierra</i>, Boston, 1911.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Ernest Hemingway. <i>For Whom the Bell Tolls</i>, New York, 1940. First edition later printing.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Upton Sinclair. <i>The Jungle</i>, New York, 1906. First edition.
    <b>Booth & Williams: NO RESERVE Rare Book Auction, now through July 23, 7:15PM EDT</b>
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> George Orwell. <i>Nineteen Eighty-Four</i>, 1949. First American edition.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Harper Lee. <i>To Kill a Mocking Bird</i>, 1960. Early printing.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Richard Wright. <i>Native Son</i>, New York, 1940. First edition.
    <b>Booth & Williams: NO RESERVE Rare Book Auction, now through July 23, 7:15PM EDT</b>
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Dryden, Congreve, and others. <i>Ovid’s Art of Love</i>, London, 1764. English translation of Ovid’s work.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> S. E. Hinton. <i>The Outsiders</i>, New York, 1967. First edition.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> J. D. Salinger. <i>The Catcher in the Rye</i>, Boston, 1951. Book club edition.
    <b>Booth & Williams: NO RESERVE Rare Book Auction, now through July 23, 7:15PM EDT</b>
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Ayn Rand. <i>Atlas Shrugged</i>, New York, 1957. Early printing.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> J. D. Salinger. <i>Raise High The Roof Beam, Carpenters</i> and <i>Seymour: An Introduction</i>, Boston, 1963. First [book] edition, third state.
    <b>Booth & Williams No Reserve Sale until Jul 23:</b> Tennessee Williams. <i>Sweet Bird of Youth</i>, 1959. First edition.
  • <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
    <b>TO AKABA! T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. Books, manuscripts and pictures. On exhibition 16 to 24th July at Maggs' new premises 48 Bedford Square.</b>
  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…

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