Children's Books, History, Picture Books, TBTPictureBooks, Thrift Shop

Don’t Start!


My Throwback Thursday Picture Book PSA

Don’t Start

There’s a title for you in the midst of New Year’s Resolutions!

I found Don’t Start at thrift store in November and I knew instantly who would be getting this little book for Christmas.


I love the sneak peak back into the not so distant past of vintage children’s books. Sometime it’s a giggle, sometimes a feeling of nostalgia, sometimes wonder, sometimes a feeling of place and time.

There’s a little bit of history tucked into the stories. Sometimes you see just a little glimpse in the illustrations. And sometimes you get a real history lesson from the story and the pictures, such as A Book of Satellites For You or in this case Don’t Start.   

The kids in this book learn about the dangers of smoking -A direct danger for their parents who smoke and an indirect danger to them from, what the book calls, sidestream smoke. My mother-in-law (a nurse) and I laughed at the strange term for what we know of as secondhand smoke. Maybe the first of the terminology from the 80s? I was curious about the history of smoking and the discovered dangers so I did a little research.

Right there at the top of the page on from the American Cancer Society under a section titled Secondhand Smoke is the phrase sidestream smoke.


 “Sidestream smoke – smoke from the lighted end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar”

 “Since 1964, 34 seperate US Surgeon General’s reposrts have been written to make the public aware of the health issues linked to tobacco and SHS.”

-American Cancer Society

I’m learning something new from the old.

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Books, Children's Books, Picture Books, TBTPictureBooks, Thrift Shop

Jingle Bells


Today’s Throwback Thursday Picture Book fits quite a few of my favorite things categories:

  • It’s a Christmas Picture Book (I love collecting these, new or old!)
  • It’s based on a classic Christmas carol (Do you love singing Christmas songs all year too?)
  • I found this throwback at a thrift store

Jingle Bells

Jingle Bells

Story by Kathleen N. Daly

Pictures by J.P. Miller

“A New Story by Kathleen N. Daly 


This Little Golden Book is was originally published in 1964. This copy however is a new throwback, a 1992 reprinting.

Jingle Bells Inside

I hope you have lots of time to snuggle up with your little ones this Christmas and read your favorite books together.

And of course enjoy singing along to some classic Christmas songs together too!


Merry Christmas!

Books, Children's Books, Picture Books, TBTPictureBooks, Thrift Shop

What I Didn’t Buy On Black Friday


Thanksgiving day my mother-in-law brought the rolls and mashed potatoes. My father-in-law brought me a stack of Black Friday ads. He’s so sweet. He knows I love looking through the weekly ads in the Sunday paper. I like the idea of finding the perfect gift or a great sale. It’s like a little treasure hunt.

I didn’t end up going out for anything. I stayed home. Maybe it’s because treasures really don’t end up in print ads in the Sunday paper. That’s what’s great about discovering a treasure. 

I found this little golden treasure at a Salvation Army thrift store.

A 1954 early edition (Second Printing) Little Golden Book, The Friendly Book by Margaret Wise Brown

Illustrated by Garth Williams

When I read her books I just want to cuddle up my little kiddos and squeeze them tight. Something quite like Garth Williams’ illustration of the little girl squeezing the bunny rabbit on the cover of The Friendly Book.

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Books, Children's Books, Picture Books, TBTPictureBooks, Thrift Shop

Cooking Should Be Simple


Pancakes For Breakfast by Tomie De Paola


More wordless and wonderful picture books

I found this great school copy at a Salvation Army. It was issued as a textbook, but it looks like it was never read.

Copyright 1978 –The summary reads, “A little old lady’s attempts to have pancakes for breakfast are hindered by a scarcity of supplies and participation of her pets.”

I love how hard the little old lady works to get her pancakes, how as she gathers all the ingredients, you see her imagining eating her stacks of yummy pancakes dripping with fresh maple syrup. She gets so close!

The cute little lady on the cover perfectly matches the story from beginning to end.

I hope I have as much grace in the kitchen this Thanksgiving as Tomie De Paola’s little old lady! If my imagination of the perfect dinner goes terribly wrong, maybe there will be a neighbor close by…

“… I knew I was going to be an artist when I grew up, from a very early age.

And the great thing is I never changed my mind.” –Tomie De Paola from Artist to Artist

  • Check out this fun list of  more wordless picture books from the Eric Calre Museum of Picture Book Art.
  •  Wave, by Suzy Lee is another one of our family favorites. This is the perfect book for letting your imagination play along the shore when you’re stuck inside and dreaming of a day at the beach.

Do you have any favorite wordless picture books?

A Book Giveaway –Celebrate my Grandma Betty’s 90th birthday with Me!


My Grandma Betty celebrated her 90th birthday this week.

To celebrate with her you can enter to win a copy of her devotional book, Dare to Live: Devotions for Those Over the Hill, Not Under It! 

If you aren’t a senior yet, this would make a sweet Christmas present for grandparents.

Head over to goodreads to Enter.  Entries close tomorrow, Nov. 22, 2013

Books, Children's Books, Picture Books, TBTPictureBooks, Thrift Shop

Why Share a Picture Book?


I’m celebrating along with Picture Book Month this November!

When my Grandma Annie had to move from her home and downsize, as the family photographer, I was given a tin of old photos. In the tin I found this beautiful photo above of my Grandpa reading a picture book to mom when she was just a little girl.

I love how sharing a picture book with children transcends generations.

So, why share a picture book? 

Share For the Joy of Learning & Discovery

A few great reasons and many great books–

Debbie Ridpath Ohi, a children’s book writer and illustrator, has a great article, Why Picture Books Are Important on her website.

“an unread picture book collecting dust on a shelf is just paper and cardboard. The magic begins when a child or grow-up reader opens up the book.” -Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Share For the Memories

I think an important reason to share picture books, one no study can measure, are for the memories made from reading together.

My Grandma Betty saw my Facebook post about my collection of vintage picture books from thrift stores. The next day I got the sweetest e-mail from her,

“I have five books my Mom used to read to me. In Dutch. I hauled them out when I read you look for old children’s books and as I flipped through them so many memories of my Mother came back.” 

She even blogged about it. Read her post, Memories.

I love reading with my kiddos. We read picture books (wordless and wordy!) and long chapter books with daring adventures (Treasure Island was a favorite).

I hope my own children can look back fondly of our time reading together and, like my Grandma, remember how much they were loved.

Here’s one of my favorite picture books. Wordless and Wonderful! photo 3

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I was so excited to find this one in a thrift store. It’s a first edition from 1975. It’s a discarded library copy, so it isn’t in perfect condition, but I love that it was an original.

This book by Mercer and Marianna Mayer is a wordless picture book. The only skill a young reader needs, imagination.

I’d like to think of this as children’s self-help in the area of sibling rivalry. Just look at those little frog faces! If you have kids, those looks are familiar. I may have seen similar looks from my son to my daughter and my daughter to my son… I think that’s why we have so much fun with this book.

One Frog Too Many is still in print. This is my children’s copy.

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Happy Picture Book Month!

What’s one of your favorite picture books?

Children's Books, Inspiration, TBTPictureBooks, Thrift Shop

A Very Eric Carle Halloween

Happy Halloween

Throwback Thursday Picture Books

~Halloween Edition

Halloween is an odd holiday, but I’ve come to love this obscure day because it also happens to be my sweet boy’s birthday.

Today’s post is a celebration of  Hans Christian Andersen, and favorite picture book artist Eric Carle, birthday’s, and pumpkins.

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Seven Stories by Hans Christian Andersen Illustrated and Retold by Eric Carle

I had never seen this book from Eric Carle before and I was so excited  when I found this in the thrift store.

The stories remind me a little of those in The Eric Carle Storybook Collection, but with darker storylines. It’s a curiosity in that matter. Or was, until I read a little more about Hans Christian Andersen. If you have more time, check out this site, The Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Center. There’s a short biography about him and the Storytelling Center hosts Storytelling days in the summertime in Central Park. I would love to add going to Central Park in New York to hear his fairytales told at his statue to my bucket list.

When I first bought the book, I thought some of the stories may be too scary for my little girl. Now that she and her brother are a bit older the stories will be a fun read together. I’m sure they’ll spark interesting conversations.

There is a letter in the back of the book by Eric Carle about Hans Christian Andersen and thoughts about making this book and the art to go along with the stories. In it he states:

“I wanted to retell and illustrate Andersen’s stories in order to make them accessible to young children…”

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This is an illustration from the story, The Traveling Companion

My favorite story from the seven stories is, The Magic Boots. 

“A well-known judge loved to talk about the good old times. Whether he was visiting someone else or someone was visiting him, it wasn’t long before he began talking about the olden days and how much better they had been…”

Here’s to the good old days and to all the little pumpkins born on Halloween… 

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My Very Hungry Caterpillar inspired pumpkin -created with tissue paper, Mod Podge, and Sharpie

…and few photos of my own little pumpkin!












Children's Books, TBTPictureBooks, Thrift Shop

For the World Traveler

Throwback Thursday -Picture Books

I found the most delightfully illustrated travel log in the form of a picture book, Around the World in Eighty Days by John Burningham.

This post is for my son today. He left this morning on his own adventure (this first of many I hope) on an overnight field trip with his fifth grade class. I know he’ll only be gone a day and a half, but to me it might just feel like eighty days.

I’d like to say this post is also for dreamers who dream of adventures in far away places. This book may just inspire you to seek out those dreams.


The front of the book describes John Burningham’s picture book as “his most adventurous and delightful book yet.”

“On October 3rd, 1970, he set out from London’s Reform Club in the footsteps of Jules Verne’s Victorian hero Phileas Fogg. When he returned on a sunny December afternoon, just 80 days later, he had travelled 44,000 miles and visited 24 countries.”

His certainly was a grand adventure shared in the most wonderful way. “He took with him a large sketch-book, a small camera and a medium-sized tape recorder. On these he recorded his impressions, later transmuting them into pictures and amusing log-book notes.”

Wouldn’t it be lovely to take a sketch-book to keep record of the places you travel throughout the year -simple notes and sketches to look back on? I think in a way it’s what we all do with Instagram.

“To cover 24 countries in 96 pages is an almost impossible task. This is a book of hasty impressions gathered sometimes under adverse conditions. It records simply how the world looked to me in eighty days.”

-John Burningham

London, 1972

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You can see the amazing artwork from John Burningham’s other children’s book in a slideshow over at The Guardian.

Children's Books, TBTPictureBooks, Thrift Shop

Maurice Sendak

Throwback Thursday -Picture Books

A late night post –I didn’t take into account that on this Thursday my kiddos had off of school for an extra long weekend. We spent a grand day of taking in downtown Ft. Lauderdale with friends. After the library, endless scooter riding along the New River, and ice cream treats before dinner, I’m happy to be posting the second in a series I’m sharing of my vintage children’s books found in local thrift stores.

The first book–

In the Night Kitchen was not in the best shape, but I couldn’t leave it behind. This was a well-loved book by the previous owner. I knew it without a doubt. The cover was encircled in red marker with a large heart.  The pages inside were in good condition, minus one page where there was one peculiar word cut out quite carefully. Strange. I wonder the word and I wonder why. My kids and I both read this one for the first time together so it remains a mystery. The rest of the book, including the controversial character Mickey, remains intact and without red marker.

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“Did you ever hear of Mickey,

How he heard a racket in the night”

The second book–

Swine Lake by James Marshall, illustrated by Maurice Sendak.

Oh happy picture book find! For red marker, a mysteriously cut out missing word, and all the love the first book endured, this book was in perfect condition. It’s also a first edition with the book jacket. Maybe it received the same amount of love from its owner as In the Night Kitchen, only shown in a different way –kept safe and neat in a special spot on the bookshelf. I can imagine of course, because just maybe I keep a few of my favorite picture books in a special spot on my bookshelf, away from toy bins and crayons and markers. Maybe.

The mystery of this book is how it has stayed in such excellent condition from first printing in 1999 to thrift store shelf.

What makes Swine Lake so special is the care and love Maurice Sendak must have put into illustrating this book. This was a project taken on after the death of his friend and author James Marshall.

You can read an interview with Maurice Sendak about Swine Lake HERE on Book Page

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“The wolf tore out the review and shoved it in his pocket.”

“A real wolf, indeed!” he said. And he executed a couple of flashy dance steps.”

Books, Children's Books, History, TBTPictureBooks, Thrift Shop

Washington D.C.

Throwback Thursday ~Picture Books
I love finding old children’s books in thrift stores. It’s great discovering out of print books I’ve never seen before from authors I know (like Maurice Sendak) or books with a bit of history attached. And the artwork, all the illustrations from a time gone by–I love those too! Just incase those who say, ‘print is dead’ are right, I’ve started a small collection of vintage children’s books and I’d love to share them with you here. This is the first post in this series.  

It’s now day 10 of the government shutdown. While we all wait hopefully for good news from Washington, I’ve found something that may cheer you up.

Two treasures from one of my favorite Thrift shops-

The White House: An Historic Guide from the White House Historical Association (1963)


The First Book of the White House by Lois Perry Jones,  Illustrated by Leonard Everett Fisher (1965 Franklin Watts, Inc.)

The White House


In the front of this book is a letter typed by Jacqueline Kennedy.

“This guidebook is for all of the people who visit the White House each year.”

She states, “It was planned – at first – for the children… But as research went on and so many little-known facts were gleaned from forgotten papers, it was decided to make it a book that could profit adults and scholars also.”

“On the theory that it never hurts a child to read something that may be above his head, and that books written down for children often do not awaken a dormant curiosity, this guidebook took its present form.

I hope our young visitors will vindicate this theory, find pleasure in the book, and know they were its inspiration.”

It was this letter from Jacqueline Kennedy that piqued my own curiosity in this book about The White House. As a writer of children’s books it’s fascinating to hear the story behind the story, what it is that inspires others to write. I love that her letter was included in the book.

the first book

The second book shares the history of The White House. It lists The White House Families from John Adam to Lyndon Baines Johnson. It’s also full of fun facts about the Presidents and what their daily lives were like while living in The White House.

Just a few of my favorites from the book:

•President Harding was handsome and jovial. He worked only two or three hours a day and loved to play golf and poker with his friends.

•During World War II, Mrs. Roosevelt often invited wounded servicemen in to tea.

•Our country was sixty-five years old before Congress decided that it should pay the salaries of the President’s staff. Then each year $2,500 was set aside for a secretary, $1,200 for a steward, and $900 for a messenger.

•President McKinley had a staff of twenty-seven, and about $44,500 was spent in a year for the White House Office. By then, the President received around 100 letters a day.

•Some White House employees may see the President only infrequently, such as the chief of correspondence, who each day measures how many feet of mail the President gets and sees that all the letters are answered…

I’m fascinated by the chief of correspondence who measured the mail and made sure all the letters were answered. I wonder what the policy on mail is today. Just imagine the change in how we communicate. It’s fun to look back at the history of it all.

What are some of your favorite historical children’s books?