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Vintage Kids’ Books: Look Quick

I don’t feel particularly good today, for no easily identifiable reason, but I did want to call attention to a blog I happened by while browsing around for gifts for my godchildren. The author (unnamed except as “Scribbler”) has reviewed an old children’s picture book most weekdays since mid-2007. The books are generally pre-1990, and many are a great deal older than that. I spent most of an hour skimming the site, and happened upon a lot of kid books I don’t think I’ve thought about since I got my first library card at age 6 and quickly exhausted the Edison Park branch of the Chicago Public Library.

The reviews are affectionate and honest, and reflect my own reactions, what little I recall of them. Among the books it brought to mind are the highly understated Georgie’s Halloween, about a little boy ghost who makes Casper look manic; Dinny and Danny, about a dinosaur and his caveboy; Little Galoshes, about a farm boy who is known to the farm’s animals by the sounds his boots make; Ola, in which a Norwegian boy goes down the mountain to cavort with girls, trolls and other strange creatures; Sam and the Firefly, about a firefly who learns how to write persistence-of-vision messages in the night sky, several tales of Babar the Elephant, and a canonical host of others.

She can’t and doesn’t list everything. I didn’t see any of the Otto books, nor Space Cat, but that’s OK. I already know that stuff, and was looking for things I might have forgotten.

I have to act fast, I think. Your Wonderful Beneficial Federal Government has all but banned children’s books printed prior to 1985, under the assumption that they might have been printed with ink containing traces of lead. So countless copies have already been burned as hazardous waste, and it’s more or less illegal to sell them. Never mind than an almost unthinkable portion of world culture will pretty much vanish over the next few years due to CPSIA. The most popular books will be reprinted with modern inks; most will not, and will eventually be forgotten.

The law will not be enforced until early next year, but after that, you will be risking a $100,000 fine and jail time for selling Dinny and Danny to an adult at a yard sale. Doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat: Your party is at fault. The only member of the House who voted against this thing was Ron Paul.

On second thought, I know why I feel lousy.


  1. Erbo says:

    The whole thing started because of the widespread findings of high levels of lead in new children’s toys made in China. Why they came up with the colossal pile of crap they call CPSIA as a result, rather than saying, “Hmm, maybe we should try making our children’s toys HERE rather than have them made in China where they apparently slather lead over everything like ketchup,” I’ve no idea.

  2. Thanks so much for the thoughtful kudos. What a nice post. You made my day!

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