Thursday, August 28, 2008

Favorite Books from Childhood Never Forgotten

For years I have had the barest memory of a picture book from my babyhood that I enjoyed having read to me, but I only knew the title, which was "Wynken, Blynken and Nod", the poem by Eugene Field. I can almost see the lovely pastel images, but not quite. Whenever I pass a bookstore selling old books, I have to see if it's there. When I was in Edinburgh, there was a bookshop on the Royal Mile down toward the Canongate that sells (or did in 2003) antique children's books - I had the strongest hope that it would be there. Alas.

I don't know why I never looked at online booksellers like Alibris or Abebooks until recently. Something motivated me to look on Ebay, and I had an almost physical reaction when I saw old book! There are a number of picture books based on this poem, but this was it - the very vintage, almost 1920's-style illustrations by Helen Page, who I have not been successful finding information about. This was a 12" x 5" Tall Twin Book, and I remember playing with the red spiral binding, and admiring the blonde curls of the baby girl.

The book's opening bid was $99.95, and that's what it sold for. I saw that it was also available for around $175 elsewhere, so I suppose that $99.95 was a bargain purchase. Sadly, my current budget does not allow for this kind of spending, but now I know what to look for, at least. The book was published by Wilcox & Follett, Chicago, in 1945, so it would be amazing to find it casually in a used bookshop, but I'm hopeful that it will somehow come to me, as these kinds of dream purchases sometimes do. No doubt a classic, bought as a gift for me, now lost to time, and just one of my many childhood books that I wish that I still had.

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