I had a few minutes after my eye appointment before I picked up Jackson, so I visited the baby resale store where I sold some of Jackson's baby gear. I had a credit and I have fewer needs for the sort of "equipment" that they sell there, so I decided to blow the whole amount on my favorite thing: children's books. I went over my credit by a couple dollars, so each of these books ended up costing .37.
(1) Little Bear, (2) My First Book of Animals, (3) If You Made a Million, (4) All About Alfie, (5) Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever, (6) The Ramayana
(1) Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik, pictures by Maurice Sendak (1957). This was the very first I Can Read book, and it's illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Sold! (It's four classic adorable stories in one, all about a little bear's busy day of imaginative adventures--including a trip to the moon--with the loving support of Mother Bear.)
(2) My First Book of Animals (1994) is a illustrated Scholastic guide to "more than 150 animals every child should know." I had just made a mental note to get an animal book at the library next time we went since the kid sometimes won't go to bed because he's so freakin' excited about the giraffe on his wall. Anyway, this will do nicely! I let Jackson page through it on the way home from daycare, and heard nothing but non-stop "Wow! Wow! Wooow!" as he looked it over.
Most of the book is in an "illustrated encyclopedia" format but there are several of these two-page full-color spreads that depict several animals from one ecosystem. (Jackson signed "fish" went we got to the underwater animals page!)
(3) If You Made a Million by David Schwartz, illustrated by the amazing Steven Kellogg (1989). This is the sequel to their classic How Much Is a Million, which uses Marvelissimo the Magician to illustrate the concept of a million somethings to kids. This book focuses on money, including how money works in general and what $1 million looks like in various denominations of cash. I didn't realize there was a sequel to the first one, but now I find that there's also a third in the series, Millions to Measure, so I'll keep that on my mental shopping list as well.
(4) All About Alfie by Shirley Hughes (1981+), a collection of four stories about Alfie, a chubby preschooler, and his little sister, toddler Annie Rose. I've had my antenna up for this as well, because Alfie comes so highly recommended by Jim Trelease of The Read-Aloud Handbook fame. Trelease said he'd include Alfie stories on his initial read-aloud list if he encountered a class of children that had never been read to before, and he even included a scan of one page as an illustration of the idea that "the amount of text on the page should grow with the child's attention span."
Forgive my overexposed photo! This is a spread from "Alfie's Feet," a story about Alfie's new rain galoshes, or to use the proper British word: wellies!
(5) Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever (~1986), i.e. score! This copy is in great condition, and it includes a really nice array of his work, from the more painterly stories of his early days to his later, more cartoon-esque work. The Amazon comments reveal that many of the "international escapade" chapters are drawn from the now out-of-print Richard Scarry's Busy Busy World, which one commenter called "Anthropomorphic racism at its best. Very unPC and fun. Three cheers for 'Robber Soup' and Couscous the best detective ever!" LOL. Will definitely keep an eye out for that as well, if only for the resale value of $50 to $300! Gotta love that boomer nostalgia. Also found it interesting that William J. Bennett includes Best Storybook Ever on his list of "Thirty Great Books Every Preschooler Should Meet" in The Educated Child. From what I can tell, it's also the only anthology included in the list, so I'm gonna guess that the Bennetts had this in their household because it strikes me as being very...specific.
I am a Golden Books junkie. The first step is admitting you have a problem.
The front endpapers are illustrated with a happy sun that greets the reader with a cheerful "Good morning!" (Inscription: August 20, 2000 - Dear Aidan, Celebrating you and your Christening Day, with love, Ian & Muriel)
The back endpapers are illustrated with a crescent moon wishing the reader farewell, "Good night! Sleep tight!"
From the section about colors, this spread about blue gives a good sense of Scarry's more traditional style from the beginning of his career.
The book fell open to this amazing spread about the Swiss Guard at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Cartoon or not, this is sophisticated work!
This spread, from one of the last of the 82 stories and sections, is about one Mr. Schtoomptah, "the funny Austrian."
(6) The Ramayana by Pulak Biswas, illustrated by Anupa Lal (1989). I have a compulsion to buy children's illustrated versions of great world literature, even if I have no familiarity with the original material and/or I have no idea if the kid would ever have use for it. Believe it or not, this is actually the second copy of the Ramayana in my house. I am aware I might be overdoing it a little. Anyway, I really like that this is an import from India. Damn, I just googled and now I'll probably have to get the same author's Tales from Indian Classics from 1990. I HAVE A DISEASE.
This book and this fabric elephant both made a long trek from India to end up at our house.
Thank you for joining me for another fun book tour!