Children’s Illustrations

Years ago, my mother in law gave me a set of children's books that she had read as a child, and had belonged to her dad. She gave me the books with great reverance and told me not to let the kids trash them. So, they went on the top shelf of the bookcase and were never read. 

The books are from 1922. The pages and the binding are brittle. But aren't the illustrations cool?


Oh. Wow. I guess that they are worth some money


5 thoughts on “Children’s Illustrations

  1. Ohhhh yes.
    Many years ago, my grandmother or possibly my great-grandmother gave that exact set (there are many newer editions) to my parents, saying that she was sorry “In the Nursery” was in such rough shape but maybe we could get some use out of them? My parents put them on the living room bookshelves with the other attractive hardcovers, but down where I could reach them, on the shelves by the heat vent behind the wing chair.
    This quickly became my favorite winter reading spot: on the floor, behind the chair, next to the heat vent. My parents found this puzzling but stuck a reading light back there anyway.
    I LOVED these books. LOVED them. I was not particularly interested in the first tattered volume as it was mostly nursery rhymes, but the later volumes were filled with obscure fairy tales, historical stories, for-older-kids versions of classic stories of Robin Hood, the Knights of the Round Table, some of the cleaner Arabian Nights stories…
    Particularly memorable:
    * The Wee Wee Mannie and the Big Big Coo (Cow), an (allegedly) Scottish folk tale in which a little boy is able to get the uncooperative cow to cooperate by convincing her that he WANTS her to stamp her feet, shake her head, etc.
    * The story of Joan of Arc; this was the first place I encountered it.
    * The Melting Pot, which was drawn from a play by the same name and tells the story of a Jewish boy and a Russian girl who meet in NYC and fall in love (only to find out that HER FATHER was responsible for the death of HIS ENTIRE FAMILY.)
    The stories in those books weren’t just fun reading, they were heavily influential on me both as a reader and as a writer.
    I’ll note for the record that I did some damage to the books by reading and re-reading them repeatedly; they have beautiful bindings but the paper was very brittle. My parents graciously bought a set for my own children … who have ignored them completely. SIGH.

  2. (Addendum)
    In the Nursery is always the most expensive, because it’s always the most beat up. These were sold in sets by door-to-door salesman to mothers of young children. They’d buy that first volume, read it out loud a lot (so it got worn out) and then the kids would rarely pick up the later volumes so they stayed in good shape. Our set — “In the Nursery” was so battered that its pages were literally falling out of the binding — was quite typical.
    They originally came in a house-shaped holder. Sets that actually include the original holder, now, those sell for INSANE amounts of money.

  3. Laura last holiday season I was in a bookstore and saw the whole set (minus the house) for $85 — so I bought it. My set is from 1937. I am planning to scan some of the books.

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