Posts Tagged ‘kids’

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Yesterday’s Acquisitions

October 11, 2008

Yesterday my father and I went to an auction of books and documents and prints and things. Because of the financial crisis, people weren’t bidding as high as expected, but even so the children’s books I was interested in buying were out of my reach. We did manage to get a folio of Japanese watercolors my mother wanted, though, and we bid on something signed by King James I, mostly because nobody else was, and it would have been kind of awesome if we had won.

But not getting anything at the auction gave me an excuse to buy a book of drawings by Charles Dana Gibson — The Social Ladder — that I’d been looking at last weekend. It’s in terrible condition — it’s literally falling apart — but the drawings themselves are intact, even if the pages they’re on aren’t completely. And I got it for less than half of the lowest price I’ve found online. And then I bought a copy of Louisa May Alcott’s Life, Letters and Journals, which I initially thought was signed by Alcott, but which in fact just has a facsimile signature below her photograph on the frontispiece. Fortunately, I was neither very surprised nor disappointed, and I’m still pretty pleased about the price I got it for.

The woman in the store where I bought both books also threw in a 60s paperback by Viola Rowe called Freckled and Fourteen. I plan on posting about all three books in depth, and if I can manage it, I’d like to photograph and post the whole of the Gibson book.

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The Ghost Cadet and The Stolen Train

September 16, 2008

Over the past couple of days, I’ve reread two very different Civil War stories. Both of them are children’s books, and I’ve owned each of them for more than ten years, but aside from the usual trappings of children’s historical novels, the similarities end there. Read the rest of this entry ?

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It’s Like This, Cat

April 2, 2008

fortune

I’m always surprised when I see anything published more recently than, say, 1930 on Project Gutenburg. And when I do, they’re usually science fiction stories that I have no interest in. So It’s Like This, Cat was even more of a surprise, because it feels like an old paperback I would have randomly picked off the shelf in school in 4th or 5th grade.

It’s Like This, Cat is by Emily Neville, and it won the Newbery Medal in 1964. Apparently it was considered very original at the time, because of the very informal narration, which is not only first-person, but also in the present tense. I’ve never been a fan of narration in the present tense, and Neville’s style is bald and uninteresting, but it’s an okay book. I think maybe it’s originality was most of what it had going for it, though, so now that its innovations are no longer new and exciting, it seems kind of typical. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Otterbury Incident

February 20, 2008

Because home is in New York and School is in Pennsylvania, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time on trains lately. And I should probably use that time for work, but somehow I fond it difficult to do anything at all when on trains. I’m perfectly happy to stare out the window for an hour at a time. So the books that I’ve been bringing with me for my train rides have been very frivolous: The Westing Game, Slippy McGee (Marie Conway Oemler’s books continue to fill me with glee), The Otterbury Incident

The Otterbury Incident is the one I really wanted to talk about. It’s been one of my favorite books for years — I’m not really sure how long, exactly. For people who haven’t read the book, the most interesting thing about it will be that it was written by Cecil Day-Lewis, who was the Poet Laureate of England from 1968 to 1972, and who also happened to be the father of Daniel Day-Lewis. For those who have read the book, all that is kind of irrelevant. It’s just too good for any outside factors to be very important. Read the rest of this entry ?