Posts from the ‘vintage books’ Category

#READ KIDS CLASSICS – CLASSROOM CHAOS

Miss Nelson is Missing!

Written by Harry Allard

Illustrated by James Marshall

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One of my favorite books to be read and shared with my students and my own two children. Originally published in 1977 in Hardcover edition, today it is available on amazon in multiple formats.

Miss Nelson is a sweet and pretty young teacher who has great difficulty controlling the rambunctious students in Room 207. They are rude and obnoxious, spitballs are visible on the ceiling and paper airplanes soar through the air. One day Miss Nelson fails to show up. Miss Viola Swamp dressed all in black and wearing ugly white make-up walks in as their substitute. The students soon learn, “ Be careful what you wish for.” Miss Swamp goes way beyond mean, and they could never have imagined so much classwork and homework. The children realize what a good teacher they have lost. Fear, panic and desperation flood their hearts. When it appears that Miss Nelson is not coming back, they even hire a detective to try to find her.

Marshall does a fantastic job with the illustrations, which look like a combination of cartoon and watercolors. Each one portrays exactly what is unfolding in the classroom. As a teacher and mom, I certainly enjoyed the humor and reality of the situation. Targeted for ages four through eight, this book is perfect for that age group, but my second grade students chose this book as one of their favorites. The book is a fun read any time of year, but also is perfect as a back to school read.

About the Author and Illustrator ( bios taken from their Amazon Page)

Harry Allard is the author of several hilarious books for children, including three books about Miss Nelson and four books about the Stupid family, all illustrated by James Marshall. He currently lives in Oaxaca, Mexico.

James Marshall (1942–1992) created dozens of exuberant and captivating books for children, including The Stupids, Miss Nelson Is Missing!, and the ever-popular George and Martha books. Before creating his canon of classic, hilarious children’s books, James Marshall played the viola, studied French, and received a master’s degree from Trinity College. He also doodled. It was the doodles, and the unforgettable characters that emerged from them, that led him to his life’s work as one of the finest creators of children’s books of the twentieth century. In 2007, James Marshall was posthumously awarded the Laura Ingalls Wilder medal for his lasting contribution to literature for children.

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#KIDSREADCLASSICS – PUPPY LOVE

Puppies Are Like That

Written and illustrated by Jan Pfloog

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This book was one of my favorite read aloud picture books for both my son and daughter. It remained their number one choice for a bedtime story or rainy day read aloud for quite some time. My copy is rather tattered, soiled, and dog eared, a bit like the beagle who is the star character in this Random House Pictureback Book that was copyrighted in 1975.

A good part of the appeal of this tale is the analogy the puppy presents with the life of a growing child. Puppies like to chew on things they shouldn’t, but don’t like to be scolded. Neither do children. Puppies like to bark and make too much noise as do children. Pups often stick their noses into places they don’t belong and dare each other to see who is stronger. They love to get dirty, but hate taking a bath. At the end of a long day, all puppies really desire is a warm bed and a soft cuddle. Can you see why this book would appeal to preschoolers and beginning readers?

The illustrations portray puppies engaged in all of these antics. They are large, colorful and cute. As the activities change from one to another, the author repeats the phrase, “Puppies are like that!” My children loved repeating these words over and over again in affirmation. This tale lends itself to an interactive read aloud between parent and child or younger and older siblings.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jan Pfloog wrote many books about animals in the sixties, seventies and eighties. There is a companion book to this one, Kittens Are Like That. Most of her books centered on animals, farm animals, zoo animals or individual animals like the ones previously discussed. Copies of the book are still available on amazon https://www.amazon.com/Puppies-Are-Like-that-Pictureback/dp/0394829239/re

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#KIDS READ CLASSICS – FOND MEMORIES OF DAYS GONE BY….The Days of Holly Hobbie: A Cricket Book

The Days of Holly Hobbie: A Cricket Book

Illustrated by Holly Hobbie

Published by Platt & Munk, NY 1977

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I picked this book up for my young daughter at a tag sale near my home. My daughter and I loved the pastel watercolors, the calico clothing and the over-sized bonnet this character wore. I had toyed with the idea of naming my daughter Holly as she was due near Christmas, but changed my mind at the last minute. Maybe that is why I was originally drawn to it.

Holly traces a typical day in her simple life. Her activities might include picking flowers, watering plants, caring for pets, stomping in rain puddles, exploring the attic, baking muffins, listening to the birds or swinging beneath the trees. Echoes of a childhood past that moved much more slowly. This 9 X 12 hardcover book is still available on amazon. Mine is well worn and  bears the inscription of its original purchaser.

Who is Holly Hobbie? She is a real person. Holly Hobbie was born Holly Ulinskas in 1944. Holly is an American writer and illustrator who named the fictional character based on herself. She is also the author of the Toot and Puddle book series. In the late 1960’s this Holly Hobbie character wearing a rag dress and dressed in her huge bonnet, usually accompanied by her pet cat, sold to American Greetings.

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The artist, Bob Childers, insisted that she become a doll. He hand stitched a prototype and gave it to Hallmark’s Rex Connors. Conners sold the idea to Knickerbocker Toys who licensed the character in 1974; the character came to life and delighted many little girls like my daughter, Heather. Later in 2006, Hollie Hobbie and Friends became a spin-off and regained popularity. Music, lyrics and a TV movie were produced as a result. Holly remains a charming and nostalgic reminder of a favorite vintage book that I enjoyed reading with my daughter.

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#KIDSREADCLASSICS ROUND AND ROUND WE GO

Busy Wheels

Written by Peter Lippman

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My April choice for a vintage classic is one that I read to my son, who like many young boys was enamored with anything that had wheels. Published by Random House in 1973, this book would be considered a new kids classic. While not as well known as some of the classic fairytales or animal favorites like Charlotte’s Web, I do believe it had widespread popularity.

Lippman employed everyday scenes witnessed by children living in city or country environments. He wrote with colorful adjectives, alliterative phrases and onomatopoeia. “Early in the morning garbage trucks roll down the street. Cans clatter. Men shout.” Lipmann put into words what children saw and heard everyday. Moms pushing baby carriages, tow trucks, ambulances, fire trucks, trains, tractors, airplanes, mail trucks, ice cream trucks and school buses. Stretching their imagination to the stars, he reminds us that wheels of the moon rover have even gone to the moon and moved moon dust.

My son and I loved to study the illustrations for the hilarious hidden pictures like an alligator on top of the school bus or a dalmatian driving the fire truck. On each reread, something new remained to be discovered. There are limited copies of this book available in hard or soft cover on amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Busy-Wheels-Peter-Lippman/dp/0394827066/

Lippman produced these board books for toddlers who love wheel books:

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I can’t end this post without mentioning Richard Scary whose books also included transportation favorites:

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#kidsreadclassics TOUCHING THE STARS

The Little Prince

Written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Translated by Katherine Woods

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I first read this book as a college student in the original French, Le Petit Prince. Widely translated into 250 languages, the book has traveled around the globe like its protagonist. You might ask why this is my favorite’s children’s book as I did not read it as a child. My answer is that I love the wonder in the prince’s eyes and the wisdom that comes from his mouth. I read the book in the original 1943 edition, which unfortunately is no longer widely available. Woods’ translation is smooth and the watercolors beautifully done. Some critics are not as happy with recent editions.

The plot is at once complicated and simple. A pilot who has crash landed in the Sahara desert meets a young prince who has fallen to Earth from an asteroid. The little prince muses about his wanderings throughout the galaxy and his philosophy on the universe. On a deeper level, the novella is an allegory pondering the human condition. Our little prince expresses his dismay about grown-ups. “Grown-ups never seem to understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.” Out of the mouths of babes, one might say.

The author first flew an airplane at the age of twelve. Born at the turn of the century in 1900, Antoine actually did crash into the Sahara desert in 1935, while attempting to break an aviation speed record flying from Paris to Saigon. He fled to the United States during World War II, but went back to join the Free French Air Force. He disappeared while flying a mission over the Mediterranean on July 31, 1944. Antoine became a national French hero, highly respected as an aviator and writer.

I would recommend this book to children and their parents. It can be enjoyed on so many age levels, and the embedded layers of meaning enrich young and old minds regardless of age. Fantastic as a read aloud and group discussion. This is one book that cannot be read too many times.

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SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

Beatrix Potter Illustrated Collection 22 Complete Books 660 Illustrations

Written by Beatrix Potter, Timeless Reads

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Many parents and grandparents may have a hardcover edition of the Tales of Beatrix Potter on their bookshelves. If one goes searching for a vintage copy today, you might have some difficulty acquiring one. Timeless Reads has done a magnificent job of putting together most of the Potter stories as well as the classic illustrations both in color and black and white. Now you can take them with you on an electronic device, though I strongly recommend that you read them on a larger, color enabled device.

These stories and their lessons are timeless. Most of these tales were originally written at the turn of the twentieth century: in this collection, The Tale of Peter Rabbit written in 1902 is the earliest, while Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes are the most recent penned in 1922. Potter’s characters are familiar to children living in many cultures. Examples of the more well-known characters are Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, Miss Moppet, Jemima Puddle Duck, and the town and country mouse. There are stories featuring the three pigs and those mischievous kittens who cannot be kept in tow by their mother Tabitha.

This inexpensive kindle collection is nicely indexed with a Table of Contents that provides an easy reference for finding a particular tale. It is perfect book choice for a bedtime story, to teach a particular lesson, or to comfort a sick child. Younger children will enjoy the soft colors and pencil detail of the illustrations. The longer stories will entertain and teach older children. Adults will enjoy reminiscing with tales from their childhood that can be shared with the next generation. Highly recommended for ANY age.

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