Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to welcome Trish, the writer behind the blog, “View from the Birdhouse” with us today as a guest contributor. Trish is here to share her experiences and recommendations for collecting vintage children’s books.
Collecting Vintage Children’s Books
by Trish from Birdhouse Books
There is something so nostalgic about finding a book you remember from childhood. I often remember reading the book with my parents, or at school, or finding it in the library. Everyone has special books like that. This is what makes collecting vintage children’s books so appealing.
It is wonderful to relive the nostalgia of favorite children’s books, and it can also be a special experience to share them with a child, grandchild, niece, nephew, or school classroom.
There are many ways to choose books to collect. The most popular is books you remember from childhood and books you particularly enjoyed. You could start by making a list of books you recall, and you have the beginning of a collection!
You also could choose a favorite author. Did you always enjoy Dr. Seuss and his rhyming books? Or perhaps Beverly Cleary, with Ramona the Pest and Henry Huggins? (Pictured above: Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary.)
Then again, you may have a favorite illustrator. My favorite illustrator is Eloise Wilkin. I especially love her Little Golden Books, but any book she illustrated is charming. I always purchase Eloise Wilkin books when I find them … I keep some in my own small collection, and share others in my shop. (Pictured above: Hansel and Gretel, a Little Golden Book illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. Her work is also pictured at the top of this blog post – Baby’s Christmas.)
There may be an era you particularly love – like children’s books of the 1960’s, with their bold, colorful design. (Pictured above: This is London by M. Sasek.)
Or you may like a special series, like Nancy Drew. Nancy Drew was a great favorite of mine, and I am always working to complete a set of the yellow spine Nancy Drew editions that I read in my childhood. Many series, like Nancy Drew, come in various editions, so you can choose the edition that interests you, or collect each title in different editions. (Pictured above: Nancy Drew Mystery Stories – The Clue of the Dancing Puppet.)
Is there a special theme you would enjoy collecting? I love vintage children’s books about dachshunds. It is a delight when I find new dachshund storybooks on my book treasure hunts. (Pictured above: Part-Time Dog by Jane Thayer.)
There also are special types of books you may enjoy – like pop-up books, or picture books with 3-D cover illustrations. Maybe you love Little Golden Books, Junior Elf Books, Whitman Tell-a-Tale Books. Coloring books, activity books, and paper doll books are all lots of fun, too! (Pictured above: ABC Color Book.)
Book lovers are fortunate to have so many great places to shop for vintage children’s books online. You have eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Bonanza, ABEBooks, Alibris, Biblio, and more. I am particularly partial to eBay and Etsy because I like to read a full description of the book and see multiple photos before purchasing. Also note that several of these sites allow buyers to save searches. You can search for Maud Hart Lovelace and then save the search with the option to receive new emails when a match becomes available. You even can set a price range for your searches. Saved searches are wonderful! I completed one of my favorite series, The Keeping Days by Norma Johnston, exactly this way.
When shopping you will need to think about what you want for condition. I am happy to find my favorites in nice, clean, sturdy hardcover editions – including ex-library. Other collectors want First Editions only. This decision is up to you!
I hope you find a category of vintage children’s books that you would enjoy collecting. It is a joyful and nostalgic pursuit!
About the Guest Contributor:
I am a former preschool teacher and bookstore manager, and have enjoyed selling vintage children’s books online since 2003. You can find me on eBay, Etsy, and Bonanza. I would love to connect with readers who love vintage children’s books at my blog, View from the Birdhouse or via social media: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter.