Children's Books from John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller
One more first, though not necessarily my favorite book. Item 39 is Elson Basic Readers, Pre-Primer, published in 1930. This book by William Elson and William Gray introduced the insipid, but unforgettable (though we wish we could) characters, Dick and Jane. Those were the two monosyllabic children that taught us all to hate reading. In this adventure, their dog Spot, better spoken than his human siblings, "spots" a frog, and announces, "'Bow-wow,' said Spot. I see something. It is not a ball. It is something funny. See it jump. What is it?'" On and on, page after page, the book drones on like this.
I guess we're supposed to be impressed that Spot is able to tell the difference between a ball and a frog. That might have been a challenge for dimwitted Dick and Jane, but, give multilingual Spot credit for fluently moving between dog and English. There are few books as burned into the memories of generations of young people as these "adventures" of Dick and Jane. Why we were made to read these things I do not know. $375.
Item 43 is The Mary Frances Sewing Book or Adventures Among the Thimble People, by Jane Eayre Fryer. I know nothing of this 1913 book, but I like the author's rhyming name. Who will be the buyer for Jane Eayre Fryer? Could be you. $250.
Here is the parrot-carrot book. The title is How To Tell The Birds From The Flowers, by Robert Williams Wood. It includes numerous semi-clever dualities, such crow/crocus, and parrot/carrot. Says Wood, "We recognize the Parrot by his clear articulation, For Carrots are unable to engage in conversation." Come on. Even Spot could tell the difference between a parrot and a carrot. Item 103, from 1907. $50.
Item 28 is a later edition (1886) of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It is something like the 82,000th copy, and as such, you wouldn't expect it to be worth much. It is. This one carries an inscription from mild-mannered professor Charles Dodgson, better known by him penname, Lewis Carroll. $8,500.
John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller may be found online at www.johnindle.com, phone number 415-986-5826.