Friday, December 2, 2011

ABC Books, Counting Books, and Books of Nursery Rhymes

ABC Books, Counting Books, and Books of Nursery Rhymes

Recommended Books from Young Years Library: Mother's Guide to Children's Reading by Rachele Thomas, Parents' Magazine's Press, 1963. {LOC 63-15865}

Young Years Library was a five or 10-volume anthology of reading material for children. The product evolved over the years, but generally it was sold direct to parents who wanted to provide an educational or literary advantage to their children. Many of the great children's librarians of the day were involved, including the pioneering Augusta Braxton Baxter. My copy, published in 1963, includes a 72-page list of recommended books for various ages and stages. To my eye, the larger majority of these books have long since been forgotten, not least because of the revolution in children's literature that took place following the publication that year of Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. I'll be transcribing the sections of the Mother's Guide to Children's Reading reading list, one by one, in hopes of providing a starting point for modern mamas looking to explore more unusual, likely out-of-print book suggestions, beyond those usually included in generally available contemporary reading prescriptions. Copyright, of course, remains with Home Library Press.

A for the Ark, by Roger Duvoisin, illustrated by the author. Lothrop.
An alphabet book brings all sorts of animals in ABC order to Noah's Ark.
     Some of the illustrations are viewable on Etsy.

ABC Book, by C.B. Falls, illustrated by the author. Doubleday.
A beautiful picture book shows a bird, beast, or a fish for all the letters of the alphabet.
     View the woodcuts from this book at Prints with a Past.

The ABC Bunny, by Wanda Gag, illustrated by the author. Coward.
An alphabet book featuring the adventures of a little rabbit.

A selection of 376 familiar and not-so-familiar nursery rhymes.

Bruno Munari's ABC, illustrated by the author. World.
A highly original alphabet book, strikingly illustrated.
     Many of the images from this in-print book are viewable through Google Image Search
     If you like ABC, you may also be interested in Bruno Munari's Zoo.

An unusual counting book with simple text and delightful illustrations.

Lavender's Blue, by Kathleen Lines, illustrated by Harold Watts.
A splendid collection of nursery rhymes, handsomely illustrated.

A nostalgic collection by the beloved English illustrator, whose popular Mother Goose drawings set a fashion in the late nineteenth century for children's clothing.

A selection of 77 well-loved nursery rhymes, charmingly illustrated.

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