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

  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • 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
  • Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Heller, Joseph, Closing Time, Advance Readers Copy of Uncorrected Proof with a letter from Heller on his personal stationary
    Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Gates, Bill, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, N Y: Knopf, 2021; first edition, with a handwritten note from Bill Gates
    Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Heller, Joseph, Catch-22, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, first edition, first printing, first issue dust jacket, inscribed on the front end paper by Heller
    Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Heller, Joseph, Something Happened, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974, first edition, inscribed on the front end paper by Heller
    Bid on iGavelAuctions.com: Austen, Jane, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, London: John Murray, 1818, in four volumes
  • Manuscript Masterpieces from the Schøyen Collection
    London auction, 11 June
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    Christie’s, Explore now: The Holkham Hebrew Bible. In Hebrew, decorated manuscript on vellum [Toledo, 2nd quarter 13th century]. £1,500,000–3,000,000
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    Christie’s, Explore now : Jean de Courcy (fl. 1420). The Chronique de la Bouquechardiere. In French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1480]. £200,000–300,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The ‘Catherine de Medici’ Hours. In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1485]. £120,000–180,000

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