The Pleasures of Vintage Children's Books

Burgin Streetman
March 11, 2009

I've always loved children's books. They illustrated my youth and gave me a tangible point on which to attach milestones... Where the Wild Things Are (the day I got my first library card)... Curious George Goes to the Hospital (the day my sister broke her arm)... The Story of Babar (in my backpack the day I learned to ride a two-wheeler). But it wasn't until my son turned one that I found new meaning in children's books, particularly those of old. I began noticing them everywhere, often in the most unexpected places. Tucked in the corners of antique stores (Lucky Mrs. Ticklefeather for a dollar). Stuffed into baskets at junk shops (The Friendly Book for 25 cents). Shelves and shelves at library sales (Grandpa's Farm for 50 cents). Books that had been abandoned, forgotten, or out grown by children and tossed away or donated by parents and grandparents. Books that might have seemed tattered or soiled took on a second life once I set them in my child's hands.

I ran into books I'd loved as a girl and forgotten, but I also met new, out-of-print friends that I'd have never found on the bookshelves of big-box retailer. And I slowly became obsessed. Now -- a thousand books later -- my quest has just begun. Over a year ago, I began writing about these titles (a-book-a-day) at my blog Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves because I knew other moms were out there looking for more/better books to share with their little ones. These lovely, timeless, and wildly inexpensive little treasures are out there, just waiting to be picked up and loved again. So join me, please!!!!! The next time you pass that little thrift shop off the highway by the Wal-Mart that looks so cute but you've never had time to pop in before, stop and have a look see. You won't believe what you've been missing. 

Five MUST-HAVE Books You Can Find If You Look

  1. The Day the Cow Sneezed by James Flora

  2. Switch on the Night by Ray Bradbury and Madeleine Gekiere

  3. The Man Who Lost His Head by Claire Huchet Bishop and Robert McCloskey

  4. Why I Built the Boogle House by Helen Palmer and Lynn Fayman

  5. Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor by Mervyn Peake

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