Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - October - 2006 Issue

Six Hundred (almost) Children's Books from Aleph-Bet

Children's Books from Aleph-Bet.



By Michael Stillman

Here come some of the great literary classics, like The Podgy Puppy and Old Dame Trot and Her Pig. Okay, this is not a typical catalogue of great literature. What we have is a collection of children's books, and this is one of the best we have seen. Aleph-Bet Books of Pound Ridge, New York, offers a catalogue of Children's Books and Illustrated Books, containing almost 600 items which will bring you back to your childhood (or perhaps your grandparents' childhood as some of these are quite old).

There is something magical about a children's book catalogue. As you read through the pages, you will be surprised by how many of these books you remember. Some are well known, but there are others that you probably haven't thought about in a long time. The memories will return. Each book in the catalogue includes an illustration, and I was surprised how often I recognized the cover as well as the title, though I had not seen some of these books in a very long time. It is easy to understand why adults collect children's books after the trip down memory lane inspired by this catalogue. We highly recommend it for the child in you. Here are a few samples.

Young Peter sure knew how to get in trouble, despite his mother's best advice. He undoubtedly would have been described as a "wascally wabbit" by Mr. McGregor had the latter shared Elmer Fudd's speech impediment. Of course Peter's disrespect for the McGregors' private property is a bit more understandable when you recall that the McGregors murdered his father and then baked him in a pie. No wonder he held a grudge. Item 452 is one of the all-time children's classics, a first trade edition of Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit, from 1902. This copy is evidently the first printing of the first edition. Priced at $16,500.

Here is a book from one of the greatest of children's book writers: Curiosa Mathematica Part I A New Theory of Parallels. What, this doesn't sound like much of a kids' book? Isn't Charles Lutwidge Dodgson one of your favorite children's writers? Well, for the uninitiated, mild-mannered math professor Charles Lutwidge Dodgson is better remembered by his penname, Lewis Carroll. Under that name, he wrote his famous stories about Alice and her visit to Wonderland. However, he also wrote a few mathematical texts, and this is one of them. This copy is inscribed by Dodgson to his sister, Henrietta Dodgson. However, as he did when signing Carroll's works, he signs his name as "the author" (though he identifies the author as "her affectionate brother." Item 116. $12,500.

Here is a children's book that makes Curiosa Mathematica exciting: Fun with Dick and Jane. There was never any fun with Dick and Jane. These vacuous, tiresome pre-teens taught a generation to hate reading with their excruciatingly boring stories. "Run, Spot, Run." Really makes you want to read more. Item 190 is a special version of this book, a Teacher's Edition from 1940. What on earth was so complicated in a Dick and Jane book that it had to be spelled out for teachers? Were Dick and Jane too sophisticated for my teachers to understand without a guide? No wonder I turned out so dumb. This book will bring back other fond memories from your youth, like getting your teeth drilled without novocain. Item 190. $300.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [RUTH, George Herman “Babe” (1895-1948)]. Signed photograph. Circa 1930s. 191 x 248 mm. $1,500 to $2,500.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HARRISON, Benjamin. Document signed (“Benj Harrison”) as governor of Virginia, certifying the service of Daniel Cumbo, a Black Revolutionary soldier. $6,000 to $9,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: ONE OF THE FIRST PRINTED ANNOUNCEMENTS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: FIRST PRINTING OF LINCOLN’S IMMORTAL GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HIGHLY IMPORTANT MORMON ARCHIVE. ALLEY, George. Archive of 23 Autograph Letters Signed by Mormon Convert George Alley to His Brother Joseph Alley. $10,000 to $20,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [AVIATION]. [ARMSTRONG, Neil A.] Aviation Hall of Fame Gold Medal MS64 NGC, Awarded to Neil Armstrong in 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: NEWLY DISCOVERED FIRST PRINTING OF "WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE... " FROM THE ONLY NEWSPAPER ACTUALLY ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN LINCOLN’S SECOND INAUGURAL PROCESSION. $4,000 to $8,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: THE MOST IMPORTANT GEORGE WASHINGTON DOCUMENT IN PRIVATE HANDS; GEORGE WASHINGTON’S COMMISSION AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF, 1775, ONE OF ONLY TWO ORIGINALS. $150,000 to $250,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: A VERY RARE ACCOUNT OF BLACKBEARD’S DEATH AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PIRATE ITEMS EXTANT. $3,000 to $5,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: EDISON, Thomas. Patent for Edison’s Improvements on the Electric-Light, No. 219,628. [Washington, D.C.: U.S. Patent Office], 16 September 1879. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [VIETNAM WAR]. The original pen used by Secretary of State William P. Rogers to sign the Vietnam Peace Agreement, Paris, 27 January 1973. $10,000 to $15,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: SONS OF LIBERTY FOUNDER COLONEL BARRÉ ANNOTATED TITLE-PAGE, “WHICH OUGHT TO ROUSE UP BRITISH ATTENTION”. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • Swann, Apr. 11: Lot 80: Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha), Madrid: Por Juan de la Cuesta, 1608. $80,000 to $120,000.
    Swann, Apr. 11: Lot 239: J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, First London Paperback Edition, London, 1997. $6,000 to $8,000.
    Swann, Apr. 11: Lot 221: Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, New York, 1985. $6,000 to $8,000.
    Swann, Apr. 11: Lot 281: Napoleon Bonaparte, Sloane, William Milligan, Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, New York, 1896. $25,000 to $35,000.
    Swann, Apr. 11: Lot 147: Christoph Jacob Trew, Plantae Selectae quarum Imagines ad Exemplaria Naturalia, Nuremberg, 1750-73. $30,000 to $50,000.
    Swann, Apr. 11: Lot 125: Guido de Monte Rochen, Manipulus Curatorum, London, 1509. $10,000 to $15,000.
    Swann, Apr. 11: Lot 197: William Faulkner, Turn About, Ottawa, 1939. $8,000 to $10,000.
    Swann, Apr. 11: Lot 159: Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, London, 1844. $6,000 to $8,000.
    Swann, Apr. 11: Lot 119: Niccolo Machiavelli, The Works, London, 1675. $6,000 to $8,000.
    Swann, Apr. 11: Lot 45: Book of Hours in Latin, Use of Rome, illuminated with miniatures, Lyon, circa 1475-1500. $40,000 to $60,000.

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