Friday, June 28, 2013

A Fairy Went A-Marketing by Rose Fyleman, illustrated by Jamichael Henterly

Published in 1992 by Puffin. 

Rose Fyleman was an English writer and poet who lived from 1877-1957. She's especially known for her stories about fairies for children.

Jamichael Henterly was born in Ohio in 1954. He now lives in Washington where he is a volunteer firefighter/EMT and teaches illustration and drawing at Western Washington University. You can see his website here.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Little Rabbit's Loose Tooth by Lucy Bate, illustrated by Diane deGroat

Originally published in 1975 by Scholastic.  It's nice to see the book was recently reissued in 2010 by Dragonfly Books. 

This was Lucy Bate's first children's book, although she was also an accomplished playwright. She only wrote one other children's book in 1989. She died in 1993. 

Diane deGroat is an award-winning illustrator of over 130 books.  Little Rabbit was her first picture book and remains one of her favorites. She currently lives in Amherst, MA. She has a fun website here.

The Sky Dog by Brinton Turkle

Published in 1969 by Viking.

This is a book about a boy who sees a "dog" in the clouds at the beach.  Later he finds a real white dog.  He is convinced that this is the dog he saw in the sky. When no one comes forth as the owner, he is able to keep the dog. 

Brinton Turkle was born in Ohio in 1915 and died in Santa Fe, NM in 2003.  He was awarded a Caldecott Honor in 1970 for Thy Friend, Obadiah. Children's Literature Network has a little more information on him here

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Thumbelina, illustrated by Alison Claire Darke

Published in 1991 by Double Day Books for Young Readers.

I love the illustrations in this book. I couldn't find any information about Darke except that she illustrated several books in the 80's and early 90's. Thumbelina seemed to be popular at this time... the animated movie by Warner Bros. Family was released in 1994 and there were a couple other low-budget animated versions made in the years earlier. I always thought it was a rather melancholy type of story, but the idea of small people is always interesting to kids.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mrs. Fitz's Flamingos by Kevin McCloskey

Published in 1992 by Harper Collins.

This is a fun book about an old lady who buys some lawn flamingos to brighten up her urban view.  She puts them on her fire escape, but the fire inspector tells her she can't keep them there, so she moves them to a neighboring roof.  She loves them so much she buys more so that they cover the entire roof. She is startled when she sees a wrecking ball plummeting towards the building where her flamingos are, but then magically they start to fly away. 

Apparently this is the author's only children's book. He is currently a professor at Kutztown University in PA where he teaches illustration and graphic design. 

Prince William by Gloria Rand, illustrated by Ted Rand

Published in 1993 by Square Fish.

This book came out when oil spills were making headlines.  Books and movies about saving marine life were also very popular at this time. This is a beautifully illustrated book about a girl in Prince William Sound who finds a baby seal in an oil spill and helps nurse him back to health.

Gloria and Ted Rand were a husband and wife team who created numerous children's books. They lived on Mercer Island in Washington.  There is an interesting article about them in the Seattle PI here. Ted Rand died in 2005 at the age of 89. He illustrated 78 children's books. 

Christopher's Harvest Time by Elsa Beskow

Originally published in 1923.

I had a few books by Elsa Beskow (1874-1953), a popular Swedish children's author/illustrator. This was probably my favorite because it was fun to see how the different fruit, vegetables, and flowers manifested into people.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Arabba Gah Zee, Marissa and Me! by Ruth Rosner

Published by Albert Whitman & Company in 1987.

This is a great book about a friendship between two girls.  I think their antics reminded me of playing with my own friends at the time. Marissa and Laura pretend spies are following them, put on a rock show for their moms, dance ballet, play pirates, and protect each other from robots.  Sometimes they get mad at each other, but quickly make up after having some cool-off time alone.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find much information about the author. It appears she wrote a few books around this time period and hasn't had anything published since.  It's too bad because her words and illustrations are so fun.

In the Forest by Marie Hall Ets

Originally published in 1944 by the Viking Press, my copy was published by Puffin Books in 1987 (the year I was born). 

This is a book that I had completely forgotten about until I saw the illustrations.  I admit, I don't really remember the story (although it's a very simple one), but the images were very familiar.  I was probably read this book at a very young age, hence the visuals sticking with me, but not the words. 

As someone who has studied children's literature, I'm surprised I've never heard of Ets because according to Wikipedia, she won the Caldecott Medal in 1960 for Nine Days to Christmas and was one of the runners-up five times from 1945 to 1966 (exceeded only by Maurice Sendak). She was born in Wisconsin in 1895 and died in Florida in 1984. 

Hansel and Gretel by Susan Jeffers

Published by Dial Books for Young Readers in 1980.

This is the version of Hansel and Gretel that I grew up reading.  Susan Jeffers' illustrations are lovely and just a little creepy when the witch shows up. She received a Caldecott Honor in 1979  for The Three Jovial Huntsmen and is still illustrating books.


This weekend I went home to the house where I grew up in Connecticut and looked through the bins and shelves of my children's books stored in the attic. I have always been passionate about children's literature. About five years ago, I joined Goodreads and decided to rate and shelve every single book I've ever read. In this process of scouring memories and researching online, I thought I'd remembered most books from my childhood. But this weekend, pulling out dusty books from storage bins, I realized there were so many now-obscure books that I had forgotten about, some completely absent from my memory, but most coming alive again after seeing the illustrations. 

 It seemed a shame to have these gems in my attic and not share them with others who might want to remember childhood favorites. So I started this blog. I live about two hours away from my parent's house now, but I will scan a bunch of books when I am home visiting and then write the posts later at my apartment in Long Island. Welcome, and enjoy.

I was a bookworm at a young age.