Monday, January 5, 2009

Whitman Tiny Tales







I've spent most of this morning doing New Year's tidying up still, re-arranging shelves and dusting, figuring out what can go into storage, making new room I'm sure I'll fill up again before I know it. In doing so I ran across four little volumes again, and I was distracted for a while by old memories. I never had these precise stories (they came in an auction lot of old books and Jack and Jill magazines) but we had a few and their style effects the old Proustian rush. I always thought of them as "balloon books."
Whitman's Tiny Tales each cost only five cents, and featured simple stories of children and animals, illustrated in what I can only describe as a soft happy style. The Whitman publishing policy for them was explained on the page above; reading that, I remembered how magical a mother's or grandmother's purse could seem when you were very small, a bottomless well supplied with candy and tissues and distractions for the kids.
I include a sample page from Little Chick-Chick, to show the style. For some reason crickets were often shown as playing the banjo to symbolize their noise-making; I do not know why.



3 comments:

John said...

Boy, that does bring it all back, eh? Was that book we got from the Rauch's one of this series? The one with the ocean liner of quaintly drawn animals? That one was so well illustrated, each picture evoked more stories in themselves. And I guess a banjo makes a little more sense for the cricket than , say, an oboe!

Brer said...

I think you're confusing THE ANIMAL'S BOAT RIDE which we had as kids with DUCK AND HIS FRIENDS which we got from the Rauchs. I always thought the violin was more appropriate than the banjo.

John said...

You are exactly right on both counts!