Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2008 Issue

Six Hundred Children's Books from Aleph-Bet

Aleph89

Six hundred more children's books from Aleph-Bet.


By Michael Stillman

Aleph-Bet Books has issued their Catalogue 89 of Children's Books and Illustrated Books. That "and" in the title should be read quite literally, as most of these items are both children's and illustrated books, rather than one or the other. Unlike "adults'" books, illustrations are crucial to most children's books, much of the reason these items are so popular among the children emeritus who become book collectors. The amusing fantasies and captivating images still draw us in long after we have, at least in theory, grown up. Here are a few of the 600 items, each with both description and picture, that Aleph-Bet is presenting in this latest catalogue.

The logical starting point for children's books is the ABCs. Aleph-Bet offers a whole host of alphabet books. Here's one for those whose favorite toys are cars: Motor Goose Rhymes for Motor Ganders. Each letter is accompanied by two automotive related illustrations and a parody of some old Mother Goose rhyme updated to an automotive scene. For example, "B stands for Breakdown / They happen every day / If you're far from home / For a tow you have to pay." We've all had cars like that, though breakdowns were probably more commonplace in the year this book was published - 1905. Item 7. Priced at $250.

Item 22 is an alphabet book designed to get kids onto a lifetime habit of consuming sugar: Alphabet Book of Coca-Cola. Every letter comes with a rhyme encouraging kids to drink Coke, as if they needed more encouragement. "V is for Value / Though the dollar's depressed / A nickel still buys / The drink that is best." The dollar is still depressed, but you won't be buying Cokes for a nickel anymore, as you could in 1928. $875.

Not all alphabet books were meant to encourage bad habits. Here is one intended to stop a bad habit: ABC Way to stop smoking Cigarettes. Author Conrad J. Dammann enunciated the dangers of cigarette smoking and how tobacco companies deceive the public long before the Surgeon General did. In 1950, he advised "A stands for "ABANDON" / So, abandon cigarettes." Dammann suggests reaching for a candy, preferably a longer lasting hard candy, when the urge to smoke arises. Recognizing the drawback of this solution, he explains, "You'll gain weight, - but tobacco's loss is your gain." Item 19. $250.

Item 47 employed a most unusual alphabet. You might think it was something from Russia or eastern Europe from the look, but actually it is the Deseret alphabet. This alphabet was developed by Mormon linguists with the encouragement of Brigham Young in the early days of their settlement of Utah. While it looks difficult if not incomprehensible, it was meant to simplify English for the young, as well as Mormon immigrants from other countries not very familiar with English. The Deseret letters are merely English sounds, creating phonetic spellings much easier to read than the convoluted standard English with silent letters and others with multiple sounds. For all its logic, Deseret never caught on. Church leaders soon discovered that the cost of reprinting the world's books in this new language was economically unfeasible. It was abandoned after Young's death. Only four books were printed in the new language, and this is one, the first part of the Book of Mormon, published in 1869. $475.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 19: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5: African-American Fine Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: Rare & Important Travel Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:<br>Old Master Through Modern Prints</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 16: Contemporary Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 5:<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 14: Illustration Art</b>
  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</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…
  • <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.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions