I Also Love Vintage Books Your Kid Loves

Riese’s Team Pick:

The blog Vintage Books My Kid Loves got born a long time ago (in internet-time), but I just discovered it last month and became instantly obsessed. Burgin Streetman, a writer and mother from San Antonio, Texas, has apparently been scanning or photographing stacks upon stacks of vintage children’s books for her blog, which also hosts giveaways and spotlights various children’s authors, since 2007. She also maintains a formidable tumblr and pinterest situation and etsy store.  It’s hard to know where to begin.

 

I read Tell Me a Mitzi eight thousand times. Were the characters Jewish? I feel like they were. As a young budding Jew, I seem to recall reading lots of books about Jewish families who lived in New York on the Lower East Side (like in this book), Brooklyn or The Bronx. Mitzi was precocious and independent and also a bit foolish, like I was and still am, and she had a little brother too, just like I did and still do.

Tell Me a Mitzi
Lore Segal ~ pictures by Harriet Pincus
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1970

 

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In the 70s, Carole King and Maurice Sendak put together the musical Really Rosie, which was based on Sendak’s books Chicken Soup With Rice (below), Pierre, One Was Johnny, Alligators All Around and The Sign on Rosie’s Door. The soundtrack to Really Rosie, which we had on a record album, was the best thing I’d ever heard in my life, especially the song about Pierre who didn’t care and then got swallowed by a lion. Rosie has this song where she goes “You better believe me, I’m a great big deal, I’m Rosie, Believe Me, Believe Me…” and sometimes that’s what it feels like to be a writer. The way that chorus sounds. Believe me, believe me.

Chicken Soup with Rice // Maurice Sendak ~ Harper Collins, 1962

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Where Did I Come From was the first thing I ever read about sex, which judging by the pictures I was 100% sure I did not want to have.

Where Did I Come From? /written by Peter Mayle
Illustrated by Arthur Robins / Designed by Paul Walter Lyle Stuart, 1973

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Oh, this, though, A Child’s Garden of VersesJust poemy things. There was a copy at my grandmother’s house. I really loved the way children’s books were designed in the 50’s and 60’s, like they were designed to calm children into a meloncholy literary state whereas now a lot of children’s book covers look like Kool-Aid.

A Child’s Garden of Verses
Robert Louis Stevenson ~ Gyo Fujikawa
Grosset & Dunlap, 1957

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Anything Sesame Street, everything Sesame Street.

The Sesame Street Bedtime Storybook
Tony Geiss, Emily Perl Kingsley, David Korr, Jeff Moss, Robert Oksner, Patricia Thackray; pictures by Tom Cooke, A. Delaney, Joseph Mathieu, Marc Nadel
Random House, 1978

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We owned every Berenstain Bears book I could get my hands on. Highlights included The Berenstain Bears Go To Camp, The Berenstain Bears and No Girls Allowed (formative feminist text) and The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Birthday. This book is legitimately how I learned about most of the basic aspects of silence:

The Berenstain Bears’ Science Fair
Stan and Jan Berenstain ~ Random House, 1977

So you know… check out this blog. What are your favorites?

Riese is the 38-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2838 articles for us.

54 Comments

  1. I’m not sure if it’s on there but as a kid I (and probably every other Canadian here) must have read The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier about a million times.

    Also, Love You Forever by Robert Munsch makes me cry to this day.

  2. Oh my god, yes, I LOVED Tell Me A Mitzi! I’ve never met anyone else, other than my siblings, who’s read it!
    My feeling is that the characters are Jewish, too, but I don’t know why.

    Oh man, I love this blog already.

  3. Just commenting to say that I clicked on this link because I saw Blueberries for Sal, a great memory from my childhood. In a world where everything I had was first filtered through my older sister, this was the one book that was mine, all mine. I can still eat blueberries by the carton.

  4. The Giraffe Who Went to School. It was one of my first books, and my mom recently bought me a copy over eBay. It’s falling apart because it’s a 1950’s edition (and because sometimes I still flip through it, don’t judge.)

  5. Truth: I did a huge presentation and class discussion on how amazingly engrossing and profound the opening of Peter Pan is. Not the entire book, just the opening. I read it once a year, usually around the time some deep, weird life changing shit happens.

    If we’re talking picture books though, it’s the Girl Who Loved Wild Horses. I still have the original copy my folks got me when I was like, five. http://www.amazon.com/The-Girl-Loved-Wild-Horses/dp/0689716966

  6. Oo, I love that blog already and I’ve only clicked on two entries. My first favorite book was I Am A Bunny by Richard Scarry. I still have my copy from when I was a baby; the cover is missing and the rest of it is taped together with packing tape but I will never throw it away. My mom gets all the babies in the family a copy of this book, so my daughter has her own too.

  7. P.S. – The first book I had that taught about sex was this book (that I just spent way too long trying to find online): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Your-Works-Usborne-Childrens-World/dp/0746023006

    It illustrates the systems of the body as machines. Pretty creative and interesting approach, although I still vividly remember the illustration of the “Dad machine” shooting “seeds” into the “Mom machine” in the part about how babies are made. Yeah, that wasn’t terrifying to a 6-year-old or anything…

  8. I had a copy of A Children’s Garden of Verses! I also had lots of Berenstain Bears but I hated the brother bear so much. He was the worst, ugh.

    I was such a shy awkward kid you guys. All I wanted to do was read. Where The Sidewalk Ends, Little Bear, Where the Wild Things Are and Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne. Those were the best.

  9. I liked the Berenstein Bears as a kid, but working as a librarian now, most children’s librarians seem to hate them. They don’t encourage much creative thought and are pretty preachy/moralistic. But I always loved them! I liked the right or wrong perspectives of the books when I was that age.

    Of course, now they’re written and published by bigots so its pretty moot.

  10. I didn’t see them listed, but I was seriously obsessed with the Boxcar Kids books (owned most of them, read all of them). Apparently, I wanted a twin and an eccentric uncle and to have adventures (preferably without the dead parents).

  11. I have a copy of A Children’s Garden of Verses, but all the pictures are by Thomas Kinkade, I like yours much better.

    Also, the Berenstain Bears once had a TV show, and bullies actually said to Sister Bear, “What kind of name is Sister?”
    Best line of anything ever.

  12. Tim Mouse Visits the Farm. Best book EVER.

    Also also I had Dandelion by Don Freeman memorized. And I loved all the Bill Peet books! Wump World, that one about the peacock with the monster tail, and the mountain goat with ski-horns… Beatrix Potter, A.A Milne poems (and Winnie the Pooh!)… I could go on forever. Now I’m getting nostalgic. So many memories and warm fuzzy feelings!!!!

  13. I LOVED Katy and the Big Snow… Probs because in the last 26 years my hometown has had a total of 2 big snows, so for me it was a magical idea just to NEED a snow plow.

    • I loved everything Roald Dahl, and also The Phantom Tollbooth, because they were so unapologetically ridiculous, but in an intelligent way. One of my biggest gripes about kids’ books nowadays is that I feel like they dumb everything down more than necessary. Kids are smart, and funny. Give them credit for it.

  14. I loved Ferdinand the Bull, All Dr. Seuss, Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats (settled many an argument with little sister, by forcing me to love my little sister)Mean Soup by Besty Everitt (cured many a bad day) and Amelia Bedelia.

  15. Blueberries for Sal, One Morning in Maine (the sequel to Blueberries for Sal! Clam chowder for lunch!), Mirette on the High Wire, The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, The Legend of the Blue Bonnet, The Talking Eggs, Now Let Me Fly (heartbreaking story of an enslaved woman and her family), Your Dad Was Just Like You; Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine; Jane and the Dragon, Love You Forever, Children of the Earth and Sky, Children of the Wind and Water (series of five stories about days in the lives of Native American children from different tribal groups), Song and Dance Man

  16. LOVE the “Chicken Soup With Rice” song. I still listen to it sometimes…

    Does anyone remember Patricia Polacco? She’s an amazing author and illustrator, and her books were some of my favorites.

    Also, “Something From Nothing”- does anyone remember that? http://www.amazon.com/Something-From-Nothing-Phoebe-Gilman/dp/0590472801

    My mom, my sister, and I used to go to the library every week (this continued through high school) to check out books and VHS tapes (and when I was older, DVDS). To this day, I would rather read a children’s book than any other.

  17. It’s really good to know anyone else ever owned a copy of the Really Rosie musical. Most people I know, even people who actively love Rosie in her video and book forms do not even know the Broadway musical existed. It is my favourite thing ever, and as a Brooklyn baby exiled to other places, an important bridge to my childhood. Also, everything about Vintage Books My Kids Love makes me smile.

  18. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day; A Light in the Attic, Roxaboxen and a book about these two obviously gay dinosaurs who broke up and then got back together… but I can’t remember the title.

  19. Did anyone else notice that the Berenstain Bears house never had the same number of steps? My dad and I would always count them.

    As for other amazing children’s books…
    Blueberries for Sal/One Morning in Maine/everything Robert McCloskey ever did (specifically Homer Price, oh my goodness Homer Price), There’s a Hippo in My Bath!, some book about sisters and mud pies that my sister and I had…I could go on but I can’t bring all the names to mind.

    ROOTABAGA STORIES.

  20. I had a small pretty copy of A Child’s Garden of Verses which I used to hide under my sweaters in my closet so no one would know where it was but me. And then when I felt like a bit of magic, I’d take it out and read something and tingle a little, and then put it back, just for me.

  21. childrens books, ESP illustrated, are why i fell in love with reading, and with art. i passed a lot of things on to my kid sis and cousins, but not my fave books. those are boxed up tight for my own library and eventually my own kids. i wept REAL tears when shel silverstein died and more recently leo dillon. he and his wife did amazing art work. and silverstein is my favorite author, for ANY age. i wrote & illustrated 1 kids book for a final and my prof said to get it published. Sadly picture books are hardly getting made anymore as the rush to get kids farther ahead even in preK means preschoolers with chapter books, less illustrated books getting published.

  22. Best part of my grandmother being a teacher is that i got some REALLY vintage kids books from her home, like printed in the 60s, Danny and the Dinosaur my fave among them.

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