Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Thrift store find

(Click on picture to enlarge)
Selected by The Child Study Association
Illustrated by Theresa Kalab
Copyright 1950 by Whitman Publishing Co, Racine, Wis.
Printed in U.S.A.

(Click on picture to enlarge)
from the story "Snow Pictures"  originally from Martin and Judy Vol. 1 by Verna Hills (later Bayley)

This 11-1/2 x 8-1/2 inch book has almost 400 pages with a comfortable sized print on rather flexible off-white paper (now a little yellowed like old coloring book paper).   The cover is heavy cardboard with a slick finish as so many books had then.  The illustrations are black and white but absolutely delightful.  Some are quite detailed like the one above and some are simple sketches or borders.  The stories deliciously old fashioned.   (These were the kind of stories that were read to me and were in our reading textbooks when I was in elementary school).  Some are re-tellings of old tales and Bible stories.  Some are adaptations or excerpts from other books. The copyrighted stories seem to be from about 1931 to 1945.

I've only had time to read a couple of the stories, but this one really amused me:  from Gone is Gone, Or The Story of the Man Who Wanted to do Housework by Wanda Ga'g.  This is a classic tale about a farmer who thought that his wife sat around the house doing not much of anything all day and what happened when they traded places.  I have known a few men (and women!) who would do such stupid things.  Actually, if we are honest we all probably have done at least one similar thing - like leaving the food on the stove.  (Well, if you haven't, I certainly have.  Like now.  The food is still out where the cats could probably get to it.  Oops.)

It is obvious that the book was read but there aren't any torn pages or scribbles.  A couple pages have had the corners turned down at some time, but not long enough to break the fibers in the paper. The owner's (?) name is written in pencil with childish handwriting (third grade-ish?) on the inside of the first paper page.  I suppose this devalues the book.  To me, it is wonderful.  Who was this child?  (I don't recognize the name as a local.)  Where did she live?  If not here, how did she and/or the book wind up here?  If she lived here, where did her parents go or did her mother remarry?  Who did the little girl marry?  Is she still alive?  Did she like to read?   And, ultimately, why would someone get rid of such a wonderful book?

This is the only example of Theresa Kalab's illustrations I could find.  click here
There are also many children's books written by Theresa Kalab and Theresa Kalab Smith.  Needless to say, I will now be on the lookout for books illustrated and/or written by her.  Also, I'm going to look through the children's books here at home to see if we have any.

For those unfamiliar with Whitman Publishing Co. - I cannot imagine what my life would have been without them.  They printed books that were affordable to the middle class. (Maybe not the highest quality, but obviously this one has withstood 60 years.)  Besides these type of books, they printed coloring books, cloth books for babies, paper dolls, things that could be punched out and put together  (like buildings, cars, scenes), at least some of the Trixie Beldon mystery series, and probably much more.  (Whitman was a subsidiary of Western Publishing also in Racine.  Western was the company that printed The Little Golden Books, some comics, and much, much more.  Source Wikipedia)

My price - 50 cents.

Disclaimer:  I have not received any compensation from any company or individual discussed in this post.  Opinions are mine from ownership and experience.


Madeline's Album said...

This was a nice find for you. I love the pictures. The cover of the book is cute and the one with the boy feeding the birds is adorable. Have a blessed day and stay cool. It is quite warm here in the high 90's. Thank you for visiting my blog. Tell your daughter Carmen I have been visiting her blog but still am not able to leave a comment. Madeline

Vee said...

Sweet find and the old stories are good ones. This illustrator is wonderful.

Barb said...


I love old books - and you found some really good finds! The illustrations are beautiful - and yes, I remember Whitman Publishing Co.! I think it was on almost every book I owned at one point. Like you, I always wonder who owned those wonderful treasures, and who would ever give them away, and why?! They are lucky to have found you!

Loved the pictures of your daughter! So glad to hear she is doing well.

Poison Ivy!! What a funny story - you should write a book!!

It's been really cold here - how about your neck of the woods?! Makes me wonder what October will bring, yikes!!


Anonymous said...

What a delightful find!!!!!!!!!

I'm not into "thrifting," but this is marvelous.

Love old book. Love old illustrations. Etc.

Shay said...

Those little books were wonderful; nice quality, beautiful artwork. Glad you found that one.

myletterstoemily said...

i adore old childrens' books like these!
the illustrations are so enchanting. you
found a great deal!