Sunday, December 20, 2009

Collecting Children's Books and the Internet

For years now, book lovers have mourned the loss of brick-and-mortar used bookstores as a major resource for discovering books, particularly rare and collectible books. For traditional book collectors this was perceived as a real loss, since they often learned about the importance of certain books they were interested in from book dealers, and about the differences between editions and terms such as good, fair, and poor condition. Other resources that are starting to disappear are the printed book catalogues sent out by book dealers to their clients, and journals that print articles of interest to book collectors. However, the rise of the Internet has meant that some of these traditional resources have shifted locations to the World Wide Web. In many cases this has been a boon for book lovers who have found a whole world of books opening up to them as well as entirely new resources that the Internet has made possible. This shift can be explored through an selective overview of the resources available online for the collection of children’s literature.

Many people begin collecting children’s books, either as children, or when they rediscover them as adults. Some choose to collect broadly, others to focus on award-winning modern children’s books such as those that have won the Newbery and Caldecott awards, or on comic books that they remember from their childhood. In many cases it is very difficult to locate brick-and-mortar stores that offer more than a few sporadic examples of these books. On the Internet, resources such as Abebooks, Vialibri, and eBay, as well as individual specialist dealers, offer a multitude of children’s books and comics for sale. However, distinguishing between good and bad dealer descriptions and judging what books to buy can be very difficult. Many book dealers on eBay and elsewhere post photographs of their wares to entice book buyers and to provide a substitute for examining the books in person. Reliable dealers generally state that the books are returnable if the collector is dissatisfied with them upon actual examination.

Once the collector has purchased the desired books, how can he or she discover how rare and unusual they are? WorldCat is now available in a public, free version on the Internet, although the listings are not as comprehensive as in the professional, paid version available through your local library, but it is still possible to ascertain how rare the book you are researching is. There are also resources on the Web for researching specific collecting areas. Often these have been created by collectors themselves or by collectors’ societies, such as the Randolph Caldecott Society in England which has an useful webpage on identifying early Caldecott editions. However, it was not detailed enough for my research purposes recently. In an effort to ascertain whether a gift to my library of some picture books by Randolph Caldecott were first or early editions, I sent an e-mail inquiry to a British listserv for the discussion of children's literature, asking who could help me identify early editions of Caldecott books. I was put in touch with the children's literature scholar, Brian Alderson, who informed me of a recent major publication by Tomoko Masaki, A history of Victorian popular picture books: the aesthetic, creative, and technological aspects of the toy book through the publications of the firm of Routledge, 1852-1893 (Tokyo: Kazamashobo, 2006; based on her 2001 PhD dissertation), which gives the details of the various reprintings of Caldecott and other children’s books published by the British publisher, George Routledge and Sons. Masaki's book is only available at six North American libraries, none near me, so Mr. Alderson generously reviewed jpg images of the books, particularly the publisher’s advertisements on the back covers, and confirmed that some of them were indeed first editions. Thus the Internet can enable collectors, scholars, and librarians to discover and communicate with experts in their areas of interest and to benefit from their knowledge.

Research into some recent gifts of children’s books published by the Henry Altemus Company of Philadelphia led to the discovery of the Henry Altemus Company website, which is maintained by the collector and bibliographer Cary Sternick. He has published the standard bibliography of the company’s publications, The Henry Altemus Company: a history and pictorial bibliography ([The Woodlands, Tex.]: C. Sternick, 2005) as well as an earlier bibliography, A bibliography of 19th century children’s series books: with price guide ([United States]: C. Sternick, 2003). The website provides detailed information on the myriad printings and series published by Altemus, along with images of the covers for the different series, so that the viewer can identify the series his or her copy was published in through a visual comparison. If the information needed is not available, he will answer email queries through his Ask the Expert page. He also maintains a very interesting blog, Thoughts of Bibliomaven, where he posts images and historical information about books and ephemera from his collection of nineteenth-century children’s books.

The scholar and collector Pat Pflieger has built a website, Nineteenth-Century American Children and What They Read, based on her ongoing research into and collection of nineteenth-century American children’s literature. The website provides transcriptions of periodicals, articles, children’s books, children’s writings, and biographical material on the authors and editors of these works for the reading pleasure of anyone who is interested in nineteenth-century children's literature. For collectors and librarians who are researching editions and imprints in their collections, another resource is online at the American Antiquarian Society, their 19th Century American Children’s Book Trade Directory. These and other resources on the Internet enable the interested collector and/or researcher to benefit from a depth of knowledge and research resources that were not available in previous decades, both because of modern technology and because children’s literature is a comparatively recent collecting area.

Not only collectors or scholars have developed bibliographic resources for the use of future researchers. Some major online book dealers specializing in children’s books such as Aleph-Bet Books, have ended up producing major bibliographies on children’s books for the use of collectors. A recent example is Helen and Marc Younger (of Aleph-Bet)’s bibliography, First editions of Dr. Seuss books: a guide to identification (Saco, ME: Custom Communications, 2002). Several websites and blogs provide information on identifying first edition points for children’s picture books, such as Children’s Picturebook Collecting, and Peter Sieruta’s Collecting Children’s Books websites. Bloggers like Peter Sieruta and Cary Sternick also provide thoughtful ongoing discussions of the history of children’s books, with opportunities through comments on their blogs to participate in the conversation.

In the area of comic book collecting, a recent article in the Wall Street journal by Susan Bernofsky, “Why Donald Duck is the Jerry Lewis of Germany: The cartoon character turns philosophical in translation; quoting Goethe,” surveyed the history of the comic book character, Donald Duck’s translation and publication in Germany since 1951, and the collecting community it has generated. The article sparked my curiosity about this children’s literature phenomenon and led me through an email inquiry for further information on the subject to a private collector. He informed me that the German collector’s group called D.O.N.A.L.D., mentioned in the above article, remains very active. It has its own newsletter, Der Donaldist, and a website. He also referred me to two websites on international translations of Disney comics, with databases and jpgs of individual issues. They are the COA I.N.D.U.C.K.S. database and the Disney Comics Worldwide website. A blog post at the latter website shows covers of international Disney comics in various languages and points out that while new Disney comics are scarce in the United States, they are flourishing abroad. Further exploration of the Internet retrieves far too many comic book collectors’ blogs and websites on various aspects of comic book illustration and history to discuss here.

This very selective overview of collectors’ resources on the Internet for children’s books and comics gives only a small taste of how wide-ranging collectors’ interests in the field of children’s literature can be. Their collections grow out of personal interest in the books they collect and are spurred by finding other collectors on the Internet. Personal communication with these collectors through their websites and blogs, as well as the perusal of scholarly articles located through specialist societies’ websites, conferences, and newsletters, generate further information and interest in these collecting areas. Through online bookdealers, eBay, and book search engine websites, it is possible for these collectors to obtain copies of the books and ephemera they covet. Collectors may still use brick-and-mortar stores that specialize in their fields of interest, as well as specialist bibliographies, but more and more they are relying almost exclusively on the Internet and its resources to build their collections.

[This was a short essay on book collecting for a recent class, and could only be a maximum of 1,500 words. I thought it was worth sharing as a blog and hope it provides useful information for my readers.]

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tracking Down a Forgotten Illustrator: Luxor Price, His Life and His Illustrations

[Note: I've been telling my academic friends for some years that they should use online genealogical and historical newspaper databases in order to research obscure and not-so-obscure historical figures for biographies and research papers. Thus I venture to share this recent paper as an example of such research. Please forgive its inadequacies. The original paper had footnotes, which I could not put into this version. I can send the text with footnotes on request. Also, some of the links are to paid databases, so readers may have to view the original documents at their local public libraries which may have access.]

Unraveling the life, background influences, artistic influences, and analyzing some characteristics of the illustration style of Luxor Price, the illustrator of one of my treasured childhood books, The magic clock (author, Mary Graham Bonner) was the goal of my research project for a recent history of the picture book class. It entailed the consultation of print reference resources, genealogical databases, online newspaper digital archives, the examination of visual resources to trace artistic influences, and the location through personal library visits, interlibrary loan, and purchase of seven of the eleven books that Luxor Price illustrated along with several magazine stories. The result was more questions than at the beginning of the project and the future necessity of a series of letters to libraries and to Luxor Price’s descendants if these questions are to be answered.

As a genealogist, my first resource was To my surprise only the Biography & genealogy master index had anything on Luxor Price. The references indexed were Contemporary illustrators of children’s books. Compiled by Bertha E. Mahoney and Elinor Whitney (Boston: Bookshop for Boys & Girls, 1930); and Who was who in American art: 400 years of art in America. Second edition. Edited by Peter Hastings Falk (Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999). Before I consulted them I had already begun to suspect that Luxor Price used a pseudonym, since Luxor is a very unusual name. However, neither resource listed his real name. Mahoney stated that he was born in Wales, educated at Christ’s College, Brecon, and now lived in Chilton Corners, NY. Apparently he had come to the United States in his teens and wandered around before settling in New York. He had never received formal art training. Falk referenced the resource, Clark S. Marlor, The Society of Independent Artists: the exhibition record, 1917-1944 (Park Ridge, NJ: Noyes Press, 1984). Marlor stated that Price was born in Cardiff, Wales, lived in Clinton Corners, NY, and exhibited two paintings on nursery rhyme-themed subjects in 1931 with the Society, according to their 1931 exhibition catalogue, which is not available in Illinois or via interlibrary loan.

A check of the Internet revealed that Clinton Corners was the correct address for the small town in upstate Dutchess County, NY. Searching the historical Chicago tribune and New York times databases as well as Google Books led to a review by Anne Carroll Moore of The all Mother Goose panorama by Luxor Price, which was produced by Frederick A. Stokes Company in 1923. The review stated that the panorama had been produced by the artist with the inspiration of his four-year-old son Peter. That led to a check on of the 1930 U.S. census for a Peter Price in Dutchess County, NY. The only Peter Price in Dutchess County was 11-year-old Peter Price, who lived in the town of Clinton with his parents, John H. and Gladys C. Price, ages 56 and 50 respectively, both listed as born in England. John H. Price was listed as an artist who worked at home. He had immigrated in 1893 and was naturalized. Gladys had immigrated in 1913 and was naturalized.

This beginning point led me back in time. For the 1920 census, I searched the less common name, Gladys Price in the state of New York. John H. and Gladys Price were living in Marlboro, Ulster County, NY, with their son Peter P. Price, and John was listed as an artist for a magazine company. The right John H. Price was not in the 1910 census so he appeared to have been traveling at that point. A check of the World War I draft registration cards, 1917-1918 database turned up John Hyde Price in Milton, Ulster County, NY, born June 15th, 1874 in England. He was listed as a farmer in business for himself. His nearest relative was Eliza Maria Price, Cardiff, Wales. Cardiff was Luxor Price’s birthplace according to Who was who in American art. The 1891 Wales Census led me to John P. H. Price, son of Peter and Eliza Price. John was listed as a shipbroker’s clerk, and his father Peter, age 67, was listed as an architect, agent, and JP, i.e. justice of the peace. This clearly was a well-to-do family of the upper middle class or lower gentry according to the English class system. What took John P. H. Price across the Atlantic to the United States remains unknown. A check of the New York passenger lists, 1820-1957 showed John Penry Hyde Price on the SS Minnehaha sailing from London and arriving in the port of New York on October 2nd, 1905. He was listed as age 31, a private secretary, Welsh, last residence Cardiff. He had been in New York earlier that year and was going to his home at 107 East 16th Street. For whom was he a private secretary? A partial clue was on his 1910 passenger manifest. He was on the SS Majestic sailing from Southampton to the port of New York on July 14th, 1910. He was listed as John Percy Price, still a private secretary, and his destination was McLoughlin Brothers, 890 Broadway, New York. He was described as 5 feet, 8 inches tall, with a pale complexion, brown hair and brown eyes, and born in Cardiff, Wales. This confirmed that he was the right person despite the misspelling of his middle name. None of the other John Prices born in 1874, plus or minus two years, on this database were the right John Price. A check of showed that John Penry Hyde Price filed a declaration of intention which is the first step in the naturalization process in Los Angeles, California on September 29th, 1896 [he did not complete the naturalization process until 1923 so he may have had second thoughts about becoming naturalized]. That petition stated that he sailed from Liverpool to the United States on the 24th of October 1893. Back to, where a search in the New York passenger lists for the last name Price, male, born in 1874, plus or minus 5 years and arriving in 1893, gave the result of Hyde Price, a nineteen-year-old student, arriving 27th October 1893 on the SS Germanic from Liverpool. His destination was Los Angeles, California. Who did this young man know in Los Angeles? That question remains to be answered.

Checking Google Books for variants of Price’s name revealed, under J.P. Hyde Price, an entry in the Social register, New York, 1902 (New York: The Social Register Association, 1901), on p. 282. Indented under the entry for Mr. & Mrs. J. Gregory McLoughlin of Larchmont Manor, NY, was Mr. J.P. Hyde Price. This was the connection to McLoughlin Bros., the well-known publisher of children’s books. A check of the Internet revealed through online histories of the company and obituaries that James Gregory McLoughlin (1880-1918) was first a railroad official in California, and only later, from 1905 to his death in 1918 was he involved with his family’s company. Luxor Price and McLoughlin may have met in California but there is no evidence yet of that. More searching of under variants of Luxor Price’s name revealed that in 1900 under the name of Hyde Price, he was listed in Mamaroneck, Long Island, New York, as living in James Gregory McLoughlin’s home as a friend of the family. No profession was given for him, and no profession was given for McLoughlin or his family. On these particular census pages only the servants’ professions were given, confirming that Price was viewed as a gentleman. Price may have worked for McLoughlin as a private secretary since 1899, because on a passenger manifest for the SS Cestrian sailing from Liverpool into Boston on October 2nd, 1899, he listed his occupation as a private secretary.

A picture emerges from these records of a young Welshman of good family, who had had a traditional public school education, with the usual basic art training at home and school in drawing and watercolors. An interest in design might have been inherited from his architect father. His travels in the United States from New York to California and back were almost certainly recorded in sketchbooks, as modern travelers record their travels with photographs. He found a job worthy of a gentleman, as private secretary to James Gregory McLoughlin, who appears to have been a wealthy railroad official in California at the time they met, and only later involved with his family’s company, McLoughlin Bros., in New York City. Since Price was still listed as a private secretary and involved with McLoughlin Bros. in 1910, my current guess is that he remained McLoughlin’s secretary either until Price’s marriage to Gladys Charlotte Powell on August 10th, 1914 or until McLoughlin’s death on February 4th, 1918. Interestingly, Price does not appear to have exercised his artistic talents for McLoughlin Bros.’ picture books. A well-illustrated catalogue of a major collection of McLoughlin Bros.’s books, Amy Weinstein, Once upon a time: illustrations from fairytales, fables, primers, pop-ups, and other children’s books (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2005), shows no illustrations that are even close to Luxor Price’s artistic style.

Since Price was listed as a farmer in Ulster County, NY in 1918, he may have found he could not support himself and a wife and son from a farm alone. By 1920 he was listed as an artist for a magazine company. Google Books listed him as illustrating some stories in The Outlook (New York: Outlook Co., 1893-1928), later The Outlook and Independent (1929-1932). The Newberry Library has this magazine, which had the column “Tell me a story” by Harriet Eager Davis, which encouraged readers to send in stories they remembered from their childhood. Luxor Price provided the illustrations for five of these columns in 1928 and 1929. and they are quite simple, small boxed illustrations. Only one 1929 story displayed Price’s trademark animated objects in a story of a live teakettle. He contributed two stories to the column; one he made up for his son; and one from his own childhood, that his father had told him, as related by his father’s uncle Major Price, “How Ma Kangaroo got a prop,” a pourquoi tale about how Kangaroos got enormous hind feet and long tails. The introduction stated that Price’s great-uncle had served in the British army and later written a history of the Mohammedan empire. A check of WorldCat, Google Books, and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, showed this gentleman to be Major David Price (1762-1835), who had become a noted Orientalist after his service in the East India Company’s army. He was from Brecon, as was Luxor Price’s father, Peter, and both Major Price’s father and Peter Price’s father (presumably Major Price’s brother) were Anglican priests. Again, this added to the picture of Luxor Price’s family background, with family members in the clergy, the Indian army, and architects, i.e. a family, by British standards, of the lower gentry.

While there were some published reviews of the books Luxor Price illustrated in the New York times, Chicago tribune and various small-town newspapers digitized and indexed by, the key newspaper database for information on Price was the Old Fulton NY post cards website which has digitized and indexed over ten million New York State historical newspaper pages. The Fayetteville bulletin for March 28th, 1924 reported that a copy of Price’s The all Mother Goose panorama had been given to the local library. “The panorama, which is a beautiful big colored picture of all the Mother Goose folk in action, is the work of the artist, Luxor Price, done with the help of his small boy, Peter. A children’s librarian in New York learned of the picture, had it on exhibition in her library, and found it so popular with the children that she interested Stokes the publisher in reproducing it. It takes fifteen prints to produce this and it is probably one of the most difficult pieces of color engravings ever done in this country.” Articles about this panorama first appeared in 1923 though it is listed as having been published in 1924, so advance copies may have been sent to reviewers, such as Fanny Butcher Bokum of the Chicago tribune, whose rave review appeared in November 1923. The panorama was published by Frederick A. Stokes Company, and may have been acquired by the pioneering children’s book editor, Helen Dean Fish, who had become only the third children’s book editor in New York publishing circles in 1922. The next book Price illustrated was his own work, The Quoks (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1923). Fish may have offered Price work as a children’s book illustrator on the basis of this panorama and book, for his first illustrated books were with Stokes and his panoramas seem to have been principally produced by Stokes. By 1928 he had also illustrated one book for Harper and began illustrating books by Mary Graham Bonner in her Magic series for the Macaulay Company.

Articles in the small town New York newspapers reported on exhibits of Price’s artwork for his panoramas in local libraries through the 1920s, and he sold fanciful maps through the Arden Galleries in New York City in 1926, before the 1927 publication of Mary Graham Bonner’s The magic map by Macaulay. These maps either were originals of the book’s illustrations or inspired the company to commission him to be the illustrator for this book. The last book Price illustrated was for Stokes, Helen Fuller Orton’s Daddy’s adventures with the animals (New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1933). By 1936, a Mason City, Iowa library reported in the local newspaper that it had tried to get a copy of Price’s map of the Old Testament as a favor to a local who loved the library’s copy of that map. The librarian had written to the publisher who replied that the map was now out of print. The article quoted a letter from Luxor Price himself, who had been forwarded the librarian’s letter by the publisher: “The poster of ‘The Old Testament,’ is hard to get hold of. There is one here and I believe it is the last one. The price is fifteen dollars ($15). I happen to be the poor miserable artist who was responsible for the original.” The article’s point was that this poster had originally been $1.50 and now the price had risen tenfold, demonstrating how valuable the library’s holdings of out-of-print books were. It concluded with brief reviews recommending several of these books to patrons. By 1941, Price was listed as a retired painter in newspaper articles, when he gave lectures on art to local small-town organizations. In 1950 his obituary appeared in the Millbrook round table, where it was stated he had lived in Hibernia, a local town since 1925.

Let us now consider the possible reasons why Luxor Price’s artwork was so distinctive. Part of it may be due to his lack of formal art training so that he was free of the need to respect traditional art and illustration. Another part, and here is where one ventures into the realm of guess and uncertainty, is that he was influenced by children’s books from his own childhood and those he read to his son, advertising, newspaper comic strips, and his publishers’ printing and engraving capabilities. His black and white illustrations have very strong lines and include a lot of silhouettes. Arthur Rackham’s silhouette illustrations may well have influenced him. There was a strong tradition of fantastic illustration in British art, and various artists such as John Tenniel, G.E. Madeley, and the British pottery firm, Martin Brothers, also depicted animated objects, eccentric perspectives and images of people and animals, and their illustrations and pottery might have well been encountered by Luxor Price in his own childhood. There was also a strong tradition of humorous illustrations in Britain, arising out of political cartoons. Illustrators such as George Cruikshank and Edward Lear certainly would have influenced Price. Price’s animated maps also come out of a long European tradition of animated maps dating back to the 1500s. One remarkable British book may have been part of Price’s childhood, Geographical fun: being humourous outlines of various countries, with an introduction and descriptive lines, by “Aleph” (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1869). It showed the countries of Europe as people, i.e. England is shown as Britannia. It must also be remembered that British furniture and everyday objects throughout the nineteenth century could have animals and fantastic illustrations decorating them. After Price emigrated to the United States, he worked for James Gregory McLoughlin, so he was exposed to the McLoughlin picture books but may have reacted against their conventional style of illustration. Winsor McCay in his Little Nemo in Slumberland newspaper comic strips (1905-1914) certainly played with perspective, beds and other objects coming to life and flying around, and other visually extraordinary images. Those strips were extremely popular and Price was almost certainly aware of them. A British illustrator who was a near-exact contemporary of Price was William Heath Robinson whose books were republished in America and sometimes appeared in American magazines. His fantastical illustrations also showed animated objects. Another American illustrator who did animated objects was John R. Neill in his illustrations for the Oz books by L. Frank Baum and Ruth Plumly Thompson and others (1904-1954). Luxor Price was also part of a strain in American illustration and other media in the 1920s and 1930s that celebrated modernity, as exemplified by children’s book illustrators such as Mary Liddell, Virginia Lee Burton, Hardie Gramatky, and the visual and decorative art movement of Art Deco, and contemporary movies such as Modern Times (1936).

The all Mother Goose panorama does not appear to exist anymore, so the earliest set of Luxor Price illustrations available in the Chicago area is in Helen Fuller Orton’s The lost little pigs (New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1925). The animals depicted appear very realistic, and indeed, the pigs appear again in Orton’s The city that Mrs. Winkle built (Stokes, 1931). A look at Price’s artwork in seven books and in his magazine illustrations show that he reused images, such as the pigs, and animated teakettles. While Price’s fantastic illustrations in later books are the ones that stand out in memory, this early book was the most frequently reprinted according to WorldCat and Vialibri (a book search engine), with eight printings, the last in 1953. The Horn book even stated that it was among the books given by the Rosenwald Foundation to black schools in the south. The next book in publication order to be viewed was Mary Graham Bonner’s The magic map, which was printed by Macaulay in 1927. It is in black and white with some plates colored in green or blue, which may indicate that Macaulay did not want to do elaborate color plates for this book, perhaps because they were more expensive. [The illustrations can be seen here]. The publisher did do color plates for the 1931 book, The magic clock. [The illustration at the top of the blog post is from that book]. The Magic series had objects such as maps, clocks, and musical instruments come to life in order to explain to a young child or two children, what they did, i.e. to illustrate through these fantastic stories the concepts of cartography, time and history, and the history of music, etc. Price was at his best when illustrating animated objects which were very whimsical in appearance. The animals and people shown in these books were much less visually attractive.

A good example of how varied Price’s illustrations could be is found in John Brett Langstaff’s From now to Adam: Peter Tompkins’ adventures in the Bible (New York: Harper & Bros., 1928). He may have felt that whimsy was not appropriate for this retelling of Biblical events through the eyes of a modern-day boy who had traveled back in time. The many color plates are richly toned and stylized representations of Biblical scenes and are less than successful to my eyes. The best part are the elaborate frames that are vaguely Art Deco in style, where Price could let his creativity go. However, in the back of the book is a folded poster in a pocket, which when carefully unfolded shows all the illustrations together in one large poster with additional framework. It is quite stunning and visually demonstrates why a library patron in Iowa in 1936 so badly wanted a copy for herself. Another point to consider in why the coloration is so different in this book is that it was produced by Harper. Harper was one of the largest publishers and could afford elaborate color printing for its children’s books.

This question of printing in color also arises at Stokes. They had been able to print The all Mother Goose panorama in 1924 in what was estimated to be a very complicated process, and printed some other panoramas that Price produced, but the books he illustrated for Stokes were not so lavishly produced. There were five color plates in The little lost pigs, and the rest of the illustrations were in black and white. The illustrations in The city that Mrs. Winkle built are in black and white with yellow as the background color. Yellow made the illustrations appear bright and cheerful in this book which expresses the wonder of modern inventions through the story of how Farmer Winkle went off to the city to see its wonders. Mrs. Winkle stayed at home, and refused to take time to go to the city, but she longed to see skyscrapers, bridges and trains, so Farmer Winkle built examples of them right there on the farm. Macaulay had simple one-color printing for some plates in The magic map (1927) and its sequel Magic journeys (1928). It introduced color plates in delicate pastels for The magic clock (1931), but The animal map of the world (1932), Price’s last book for Macaulay, did not have any color. The animal map focused on tales of animals and Price made a serious effort to portray very realistic animals. The frames are somewhat stylized, but the illustrations do not have the charm of the earlier books with animated objects and silhouetted figures. Of course the variations in color printing at these three companies may also have been caused by lack of funds due to the Great Depression.

It is still unknown why Price did not illustrate more children’s books after 1933. He lived until 1950 and occasionally gave lectures on art to various organizations near his home, so he remained active. One possibility may be that his style of illustration did not appeal to editors and publishers. The Magic books and the animal books were a mix of fantasy and nonfiction, and were intended to educate children about nonfictional subjects. There were more nonfiction books being published in the 1930s due to the influence of the Bank Street educators, that contained far less fantasy, and contained bold and striking illustrations that reflected contemporary art movements. Price’s very idiosyncratic style may have appeared out-of-step with these new books.

As was stated at the beginning of this paper, there are still many questions left to be answered. What kind of artistic training did Luxor Price have? Are there papers held by his descendants that give information on his art and his life? Why did he illustrate only eleven children’s books? What other magazines carried his illustrations? Could he really support himself and his family with his art as one article indicated? How could he afford to retire in the middle of the Great Depression? Several possible avenues for future research are indicated: contact Price’s descendants in the hope that they might have archival material and original artwork and to expand on his personal biography; contact his public school in Wales for biographical and archival information, and to learn what kind of artistic training they might have offered; research James Gregory McLoughlin, Helen Dean Fish, Mary Graham Bonner and Helen Fuller Orton, and the Society of Independent Artists, to discover if archival materials or biographies contain references to Price; and investigate whether local libraries in the Millbrook/Hibernia area might hold unrecorded paintings or panoramas by Price.

From my research into an unknown illustrator named Luxor Price has emerged the artist-by-chance, John Penry Hyde Price (1874-1950), an Englishman of Welsh background, from a family of curates, soldiers, and architects, who emigrated to the United States, but did not actually become a American citizen for thirty years. He moved in high society during his years with James Gregory McLoughlin, but settled in small-town New York among farmers and everyday folk. He made his name as a children’s book illustrator and painter of nursery panoramas, and drew praise from Anne Carroll Moore and other librarians. His illustrations reflected not only the fantastic and humorous illustration trends of nineteenth-century Britain but also comparable American illustrations from the 1900s to the 1920s. He synthesized these influences into a very distinctive style, particularly in his black-and-white animated object illustrations. Today his books are forgotten and are held by only a few libraries. In my opinion, he is worth rescuing from oblivion and looking at what his life and illustrations reveal about the history of children’s book illustration in the 1920s and 1930s.

Books and articles illustrated by Luxor Price

Bonner, Mary Graham. The animal map of the world, by Mary Graham Bonner. Illustrated by Luxor Price. New York: Macaulay Co., 1932. 228 p., 1 l. incl. front., ill., pls., 22 cm.

Bonner, Mary Graham. The magic clock, by Mary Graham Bonner. Illustrated by Luxor Price. New York: Macaulay Co., 1931. 187 p., ill., 21 cm.

Bonner, Mary Graham. Magic journeys, by Mary Graham Bonner. Illustrated by Luxor Price. New York: Macaulay Co., 1928. x p., 1 l., 13-286 p., 1 l. incl. ill., col. pls., maps, col. front., 25 cm.

Bonner, Mary Graham. The magic map, by Mary Graham Bonner. Illustrated by Luxor Price. New York: Macaulay Co., 1927. ix p., 1 l., 13-238 p. incl. ill., col. pls., col. front., 25 cm.

Bonner, Mary Graham. The magic music shop, by Mary Graham Bonner. Illustrated by Luxor Price. Music by Harry Meyer. New York: Macaulay Co., 1929. 95 p., ill., 30 cm.

Bonner, Mary Graham. The magic universe, by Mary Graham Bonner. Illustrated by Luxor Price. New York: Macaulay Co., 1930. 250 p., [9] l. of pls., ill. (some col.), 24 cm.

Davis, Harriet Eager. “Tell me a story. Original tales remembered from childhood to tell to children. Conducted by Harriet Eager Davis. Illustrated by Luxor Price,” The Outlook, Feb. 29, 1928, v. 148, no. 9, pp. 349 and 355. The story was: “How the monkeys came to the zoo. As remembered by Sophie D. Wells, an Outlook reader.”

Davis, Harriet Eager. “Tell me a story. Original tales remembered from childhood to tell to children. Conducted by Harriet Eager Davis. Illustrated by Luxor Price,” The Outlook, Mar. 28, 198, v. 148, no. 13, p. 508. The story was: “The Mouse who saved the mill. As remembered by Mabel E. Pattee, an Outlook reader.”

Davis, Harriet Eager. “Tell me a story. Original tales remembered from childhood to tell to children. Conducted by Harriet Eager Davis. Illustrated by Luxor Price,” The Outlook, Apr. 18, 1928, v. 148, no. 16, pp. 632-633. The story was: “The Good old black teakettle. As remembered by the children of Marion G. Hartness, an Outlook reader.”

Davis, Harriet Eager. “Tell me a story. Original tales remembered from childhood to tell to children. Conducted by Harriet Eager Davis. Illustrated by Luxor Price,” The Outlook, Apr. 25, 1928, v. 148, no. 17, pp. 669 and 680. The story was: “How Ma Kangaroo got a prop. As remembered by Luxor Price.”

Davis, Harriet Eager. “The Grand animal mix-up. By Harriet Eager Davis. Illustrated by Luxor Price,” The Outlook and independent, Jan. 23, 1929, v. 151, no. 4, pp. 154-155. The story was: “The Grand animal mix-up. As invented for his son by Luxor Price.”

Langstaff, John Brett. From now to Adam; Peter Tompkins’ adventures in the Bible. Illustrated with a panel and drawings by Luxor Price. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1928. xii, 190p., col. front., col. pls. (1 fold. in pocket), 24 cm.

Orton, Helen Fuller. The city Mrs. Winkle built, by Helen Fuller Orton. Illustrated by Luxor Price. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1931. 3 p. l., 87, [1] p., col. front., col. ill., 16 cm.

Orton, Helen Fuller. Daddy’s adventure with the animals, by Helen Fuller Orton. With thirty-seven line drawings by Luxor Price. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1933. 3 p. 1., 81, [1] p. incl. ill., pls., 20 cm.

Orton, Helen Fuller. The little lost pigs, by Helen Fuller Orton. Illustrated by Luxor Price. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1925. 96 p. incl. col. front., ill., pls. (part col.), 14 x 19 cm. Reprinted the same year by Lippincott in Philadelphia and again in 1953. Reprinted by Stokes in 1928, 1929 and 1930. Reprinted by W. & R. Chambers in London in 1927 and 1930.

Price, Luxor. The all Mother Goose panorama, designed and drawn by Luxor Price. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1924. One advertisement stated “A beautiful and colorful map, size 20 x 40 inches, desirable for children’s room or library.” Not in OCLC.

Price, Luxor. Fairy story land. A panorama that he produced according to a newspaper article. I have yet to find other evidence of this panorama. Not in OCLC.

Price, Luxor. [Map posters]. He sold original map art through the Arden galleries in New York.

Price, Luxor. The panorama of American history. Drawn by Luxor Price. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1926. Mounted on linen, 24” x 51”. A tapestry-like frieze of the outstanding events of American history, chronologically arranged and with picturesque detail–cf. an advertisement. Not in OCLC.

Price, Luxor. The panorama of the Old Testament. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1928. This may have been the folded poster in the back pocket of John Brett Langstaff’s From Now to Adam (listed above), and then sold separately. Not in OCLC.

Price, Luxor. The Quoks, by Luxor Price. New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1924. 62 p., ill. (some col.), 31 cm. Reprinted by W. & R. Chambers in London in 1925.

He also painted many nursery panels, large and small, in various mediums of Mother Goose, Fairy Stories, Pirates, Giants, etc., for home nurseries.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thinking about Ghosts

Some discussions on Child_Lit and Facebook got me thinking about the question of when friendly ghosts appeared in children's books. Ghosts have always been around in tales told to children. In the Greek myths which were told to both adults and children, people went to the gates of Hades and offered fresh blood to draw the shades (ghosts) out of Hades so they could talk to them and get advice. The ancient Celts believed that the dead walked on Samhain and could be dangerous to the living. Samhain became All Hallows' Eve, today's Halloween. Costumes and masks were often worn during the celebrations of these holy days in order to imitate or placate the spirits. Children wore costumes and participated in these festivals long before today's Halloween-mania. Ghost stories were certainly part of the early modern childhood experience. For evidence, see John Locke's warning in his 1693 book Some Thoughts Concerning Education that nursemaids were wont to frighten children with tales of "goblins, spectres, and apparitions," causing them to become superstitious (see p. 291 of the 1712 edition). He advised that children should be reared by their parents and tutors and kept away from the servants to train them to be logical and non-superstitious. Popular chapbooks from the 1600s onwards were full of ghostly apparitions bemoaning their dire fates and warning the reader not to follow their doomed paths. However none of these ghosts seem to have been friendly ghosts. Some eighteeenth-century authors stripped ghosts from their tales or used them to show the folly of superstition, as in Goody Two-Shoes (1766), where Goody shows the frightened populace that ghosts in the church were actually people making noises (see chapter VI, pp. 45-56). Later nineteenth- and early twentieth-century stories told of fake ghosts and how they were disproved.

Among the most popular ghost tales of the nineteenth-century was Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820). On GoogleBooks are various full view versions of Irving's tale. I like a collection of three of Irving's stories, Little Britain, Together with The Spectre Bridegroom & A Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1880). If you click on the last clickable page (90) of the table of contents and scroll down a few pages you come to the beginning of the Legend and can read it at your leisure. The illustrations are perfect for the story. The Headless Horseman when he comes along is very scary, although in the epilogue there is a subtle hint that he may have been a fake ghost. There was a long tradition of ghost stories being told around the fireside at Christmastime, and Charles Dickens did a series of small gift books to be sold at Christmas. The first was A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Story of Christmas (1843), which was an immediate bestseller, popular with both adults and children. The ghosts in this tale perform a by now traditional function of reforming both Scrooge and the reader. Robina F. Hardy's The Ghost of Greythorn Manor (1887) tells the tale of a nursemaid at an English country house who with her timid young charge bravely investigates mysterious ghostly noises and finds they are caused by natural things. These tales are fairly typical of the ghost stories nineteenth-century children encountered. But no friendly ghosts, or even the expectation of a friendly ghost. Ghosts were definitely scary.

Thinking about it, the only nineteenth-century story with a relatively friendly ghost is Oscar Wilde's The Canterville Ghost of 1887. This ghost story was published in a collection of tales for adults, not children, but children did read it. Wikipedia points out that it was a satire of the popular gothic ghost tales of the day. It has a ghost trying to terrify the very practical American Otis family, but only a young girl, Virginia, pays any attention to the ghost who she ends up befriending. Here is an unstereotypical ghost with human cares and worries. In the end Virginia helps him resolve his situation and depart for heaven. The 1944 film of this story changes the ghost's background story and makes him a bumbler but the movie is very funny and the relationship between the ghost and young Jessica (Margaret O'Brian) is sweet.

Various juvenile series of the early twentieth century had young detectives investigating ghosts, always to find that they were fake.

It doesn't seem to have been until 1936 when William Pène du Bois came out with his first book, Elisabeth the Cow Ghost, that there appeared a children's book with a funny ghost. Elisabeth was a sweet, gentle cow who came back as a ghost and tried to be a scary ghost, even wearing a sheet to inspire terror. Pène du Bois rewrote and reillustrated the book in 1964 and that edition is generally available through libraries. The text of the 1936 edition is to be found in Philippa Pearce's compilation, Dread and Delight: A Century of Ghost Stories (1995). Pearce commented that when she searched for ghost stories written specifically for children for this anthology, she did not find any before 1900. The stories from 1900 to 1936 are quite scary, save for one by Eleanor Farjeon, "Elsie Piddock Skips In Her Sleep" (1928), that I personally do not see as a ghost story. Thus my conclusion is that friendly ghost stories are an American invention that spread first to England and then to Europe. American authors such as Thorne Smith, with Topper (1926) and Elswyth Thane, with Tryst (1939) had introduced the concept of funny and romantic ghosts to adult fiction and to the movies. The influence of movies such as The Canterville Ghost and the Casper cartoons seem to have spurred the development of children's stories with friendly ghosts. This was a remarkable development because in 500 years of English hauntings and investigations of hauntings there appears to have been no concept of friendly ghosts with their own afterlives, only of murdered ghosts who needed to be avenged, or were themselves ghosts of murderers and suicides, or of spirits summoned by mediums to assuage their loved ones' grief, according to the very interesting and scholarly book by Owen Davies, The Haunted: A Social History of Ghosts (2007).

The author Robert Bright did a thirteen-book series about a friendly ghost named Georgie, starting with the first book, Georgie, in 1944. Georgie was a shy, gentle ghost who haunted the Whittakers' house. He did appropriate creaky noises around the house, and frightened away robbers, but the humans never knew he was there.

I remembered the Casper the Friendly Ghost comics from my childhood, and Wikipedia stated that Casper started as a concept for a children's picture book in 1939, conceived by Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo. Oriolo sold the concept to an animation studio and Casper first appeared in a 1945 film. Here was a ghost who made friends with humans and interacted with them. Casper became the hero of a comic book series in 1952 which was published until the 1990s. He still appears in TV series and feature films.

The name Seymour Reit caught my eye because one of my favorite childhood books was The Worried Ghost (1976) by Reit! This tale of a ghostly clerk who needed a human to listen to him and get a long-overdue letter delivered is wonderful, and Quentin Blake's illustrations perfectly fit the book. What fun to find that Reit was at the beginning of this tradition of friendly ghosts back in the 1930s.

In 1948 appeared The Witch of Scrapfaggot Green, by Patricia Gordon, which was illustrated by William Pène du Bois. This story was set during WWII in England. American soldiers stationed near Scrapfaggot Green widened the road for their trucks, and unleashed a witch's ghost. Two young locals befriended the ghost, who turned out to be a mischievous prankster as well as their ancestress. I was fascinated to discover it was based on newspaper articles about a 1944 hoax in England, but in the book the witch was a real ghost. The author, Patricia Gordon, also wrote as Joan Howard, who wrote two of my favorite childhood books, and both names were pseudonyms for a husband-and-wife team, Rene and Patricia Prud'Hommeaux. This Witch book seems to have been the first to have an ancestral friendly ghost.

By 1954 the British author L.M. Boston had written The Children of Green Knowe, the first of a classic 7-book series, where an old house's ghosts interacted with the children who lived there in the mid-twentieth century. This, with its deeper sense of history, not the Witch book, seemed to be the real beginning of another thread in the tradition of friendly ghosts, i.e the concept of bringing history to life through the communication of ghosts and the living. These children interacted with ancestral ghosts and learned about the history of the house and their country. The author based Green Knowe on her own home, the Manor at Hemmingford Grey, which was originally built in the 1130s. It's on my very long list of children's literature-related sites to visit someday.

By 1958 the American author, Elizabeth Marie Pope, had written The Sherwood Ring, where a young girl encountered ancestral ghosts at her family home in New York. It was actually what today would be called a YA novel and quite different from the English Green Knowe books. But that sense of ancestry and history and getting a modern young person interested in the past was similar. There's a substantial section of it readable over on GoogleBooks. Just skip past the dreadful 2001 cover and enjoy reading it! (The cover shown is a library binding from 1958).

By the 1960s there were more children's books with ghosts in them who brought history to life for their young readers. These humanized ghosts were also usually shown in illustrations and the authors' descriptions as looking like people, not ghost shapes wearing sheets. I note that ghosts wearing sheets still appear in picture books for young children, but not usually in middle-grade and YA books. I wonder if their amorphous shapelessness is perceived as less frightening and thus safer for the very young? I also wondered when ghosts began to be portrayed as wearing sheets. I found a 1592 poem by Thomas Churchyard, "Strange farlies," which talks of ghosts walking in sheets. My brother suggested that the image of ghosts in sheets might be inspired by the very old custom of burying people in shrouds, also known as winding sheets. Davies in The Haunted confirmed this idea and gave information on ghosts' appearances dating back to the Middle Ages.

May Nickerson Wallace's Ghost of Dibble Hollow (1965) had a young boy moving to an ancestral New England farm and becoming friends with his ghostly boy great-uncle Miles Dibble who needed him to solve a family mystery and a feud with another family. Through his efforts at resolving the mystery, Pug also made friends and settled down to a country life.

Librarian Judith Spearing's The Ghosts Who Went To School (1966) was another Scholastic paperback staple for many years. I still have my childhood paperback copies of this as well as the Reit and Wallace books. This was about a whole ghost family who had been pioneers in a small town somewhere in the Midwest. It's very funny and the pageant where they retell the true history of the founding of the town is hysterical. I just discovered that Spearing did a sequel, The Museum House Ghosts (1969). I hope to get my hands on it.

The British author Antonia Barber wrote The Ghosts (1969). Charlotte's Library has a very good review of it here, so I won't try to summarize it. I show here an image of the cover of my childhood copy from 1977. I do observe that a theme of many of these books from the 1960s and 1970s is how humans can help the ghosts so they can be released from their ghostly existence and move on to heaven whereas the earlier books from the 1950s are more about the ghosts helping humans. Another point about this book is that it is both a ghost story and a time-travel story. Time-travel stories from E. Nesbit's The House of Arden (1908) onwards may have paved the path for the development of ghost stories for children. Many stories incorporate elements of both themes and emphasize the importance of learning about history.

The British author Eva Ibbotson's first book was The Great Ghost Rescue (1975) which is still in print. A young boy became friends with some ghosts and discovered that ghosts all over England were being driven out of their homes. He set out to rescue them and find them a permanent home. Ibbotson's ghosts have all kinds of idiosyncracies and the book is delightfully funny. She wrote some other ghost books, and any of them, indeed, any at all of her books are worth reading. Interestingly Wikipedia claimed that she stated that she disliked the supernatural and wrote her books to lessen her readers' fears of such things. However I found a 2005 interview with her where she stated that "I think ghosts generally get a bad press. My ghosts are very nice and often to be pitied".

During the 1960s and 1970s there was a vogue for collections of ghostly stories, some of which were truly creepy, or which purported to be stories of real ghosts. I avoided them as a child, but I did love the tales of Sorche Nic Leodhas, who collected Gaelic ghost stories, and presented them in books such as Ghosts Go Haunting (1965). These gentler ghost stories showed ghosts such as the mother who worried about her baby and needed reassurance that he would be taken care of. I do wonder if the creepier story collections may have sown the ground for the vogue for juvenile horror in the 1980s and 1990s such as the books by Christopher Pike and P.L. Stine.

There were a number of stories during the 1970s and 1980s that repeated the theme of teaching about history through these ghostly encounters. British authors such as Eileen Dunlop, Mollie Hunter, Penelope Lively, and William Mayne, drew on Britain's very deep history and their ghosts tended to be from earlier periods and less likely to be friendly. American authors drew from the Revolutionary War and the Civil War for inspiration, but you also find authors such as Mary Downing Hahn and Betty Ren Wright who had recent ghosts, often direct relatives, helping the children out of dangerous situations and helping them deal with the fact of their loved ones' deaths.

The 1980s also saw the appearance of some books that combined helpful and scary ghosts, such as E.W. Hildick's six-book Ghost Squad series, published from 1984 to 1988. The cover for The Ghost Squad Flies Concorde (1986) still frightens me when I see it among my books. The concept of the Ghost Squad was that of four teenage ghosts working with two human boys to solve crimes. One of the ghosts was Hispanic and a computer genius and found a way to communicate with his best friend, an African-American through a computer they had been working on before his death. The ghosts wanted to solve the mysteries of their deaths and found themselves solving other mysteries as well. They also encountered some truly scary and evil ghosts along the way.

1982 saw the publication of Virginia Hamilton's Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush, which appears to be the first African-American ghost book and it remains distinct from other such books. I'm still investigating if there were earlier books with African-American ghosts. There aren't very many even today and they tend to have slave ghosts. This book has the ghost of the main characters' uncle who helps Tree and Dab understand their family history and why their mother is the way she is. I wonder if the current push to get African-Americans interested in their history and genealogy will inspire writers to produce relevant books with ghosts that are not associated with the Civil War.

There were also gentler books, such as Bruce Coville's The Ghost in the Third Row (1987) and its two sequels. I still wish he had written more books in that series. I loved the two friends Nine and Chris and their adventures. I do note that in the second book, The Ghost Wore Gray (1988), as well as a ghost of a Confederate soldier, at the end there is the ghost of a former slave who became a conductor on the Underground Railroad.

In the 1990s there were a number of books with ghosts and humans working together to solve historical mysteries.

Elaine Marie Alphin's Ghost Cadet (1991) portrayed the ghost of a real boy who was a Civil War soldier fighting on the Confederate side. Many Civil War ghost books focus on the Northern side or slavery so this is rather different. It was very moving in its final reunion scene. I was surprised to find that Virginia Military Institute (VMI), where this book was set, had a web page devoted to the young cadet William Hugh McDowell due to the many inquiries made by readers of this book.

I've found some books printed in the 2000s that have ethnic Chinese and Hispanic ghosts. In Meg Cabot's delightful Mediator series, Suze, a teenage psychic, can see ghosts and falls in love with Jesse, a Hispanic ghost. Much of the six-book series is taken up with trying to solve his nineteenth-century murder along with other ghostly encounters. Check Cabot's website for excerpts from the books and a free short story. Ethnic ghosts in children's books seem to be still uncommon, though that may be changing.

Today's books run the gamut with friendly and scary ghosts all over the place, from picture books to YA fiction. In the 2008 Newbery Medal winner, Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book ghosts are key to the story. The hero is brought up in a graveyard by ghosts, and when he grows up, he must go out into the world of humans, never to see his ghost family again. This is unlike many earlier books, where ghosts are expected to go on to heaven after having their problems solved, leaving their human friends behind.

Over the last two hundred years children's books have shifted from showing ghosts as frightening images used to teach morals to ghosts as a common theme in all kinds of books for children, whether they be scary or friendly. The roots of this shift may well go back to 1887 but it really sprang to life in the 1930s and 1940s through picture books, comics and cartoons. I will hope to hear in the comments if my readers can identify earlier books with friendly ghosts and also that they will share their favorite children's books with ghosts in them.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Modern Pop-Up Books

The library where I work recently received a gift of a lovely collection of pop-up books published in the period from 1983 to 2009. I've been enjoying creating a detailed inventory of it and wanted to share some of the ones I loved with all of you.

Some funny and charming books are:

Bantock, Nick. Robin Hood: a pop-up rhyme. New York: Viking, 1993. As you read this book, you realize that there's something odd going on. Someone's playing pretend... I still smile at the memory of my surprise.

Carter, David A. Flapdoodle dinosaurs: a colorful pop-up book. New York: Little Simon, 2001. These delightfully silly dinosaurs charmed me and would probably charm any child.

Chu, Miyoko Coco. Birdscapes: a pop-up celebration of birdsongs in stereo sound. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2008. This book simply amazed me. As you turn the pages, you see a landscape and hear the birds that you would hear in that particular region of the world. That's so creative and such a great way to get children intrigued with birds and birdsong and exploring the world! This book was developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a place I did not normally associate with children's books. However, a look at their website shows that they do a lot of programs to educate children and the general public about their work.

Harris, John. Pop-up Aesop. Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2005. I was delighted to be able to read this in person because Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast did a great interview with the illustrator Calef Brown recently. The interview is full of his wonderful illustrations and I had wanted to get my hands on an example of his work and here it was! I was surprised to see that it was published by Getty Publications. That's the publishing arm of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Not a publisher you would expect to be publishing children's books. Turns out Harris is a senior editor at Getty Publications, and has published three children's books through that imprint. This book is fun and Harris has picked some tales that are rarely retold so this is not an ordinary Aesop text, plus Brown's illustrations make for a delightful visual experience.

Petty, Kate. The perfect pop-up punctuation book. New York: Dutton Children's Books, 2006. This delightful book explains punctuation thoroughly. I need to review it carefully since punctuation is not my strong point. Much more fun visually than the children's version of Lynne Truss' Eats, Shoots & Leaves. Kate Petty did a number of other pop-up children's books, including The amazing pop-up geography, which is also in this collection. I was sad to find that she died from cancer in May, 2007. I hope her books continue to be sold and reprinted. They are wonderful.

Rojany-Bucccieri, Lisa. Sammy's suitcase: a pop-up adventure. New York: Robin Corey Books, 2008. I enjoyed this tale of a young boy who goes off on the train to visit his grandparents. During the journey his amazing suitcase produces all kinds of tools to fix the adults' problems. Very funny and I think little boys will love it, and girls too!

Yoon, Salina. Opposnakes: a lift-the-flap book about opposites. New York: Little Siimon, 2009. I loved this book which is very funny. The illustrations kept me smiling. This was a preview copy, and the book will be published in June of 2009. I definitely recommend it!

Now, I'd like to share some pop-up books whose design blew me away. The books above are fun, but they aren't high art. I think these really are art and will be appreciated for their design by all kinds of people as well as children.

Carter, David A. 600 black spots: a pop-up book for children of all ages. New York: Little Simon, 2007. Carter does a lot of children's pop-ups, but for the last four years he's been doing some abstract and stunning pop-ups as well. A friend states that her young nephews love them just as much as we adults do.

Ita, Sam. Moby-Dick: a pop-up book. New York: Sterling Pub., 2007. My library collects every single edition and issue of Herman Melville's books, so I've seen a lot of illustrations for Moby-Dick. This is a wonderful retelling of the tale. The pop-ups and illustrations are spectacular. Ita also did a version of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (2008) which is also in this collection. I will definitely look out for more books by him.

Pelham, David. Trail: paper poetry. New York: Little Simon, 2007. This book absolutely blew me away. It is fabulous. This was the first book that made me realize how much pop-ups are changing and how they really are art. Pelham also does more conventional children's pop-ups, which frankly did not impress me. I hope he does more pop-ups like Trail.

Sabuda, Robert. Dinosaurs: encyclopedia prehistorica. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2005. Pop-ups everywhere under flaps, and springing up from center panels, as you can see in this image. Any child who loves dinosaurs will love this book, which is full of facts as well as images. I was astonished to see how much could be packed into a pop-up book.

Sabuda, Robert. The movable Mother Goose. New York: Little Simon, 1999. I loved the unusual nursery rhymes and the images in this pop-up version of Mother Goose. Sabuda clearly had fun creating this book.

Sabuda, Robert. Winter's tale: an original pop-up journey. New York: Little Simon, 2005. Sabuda has done a lot of wintry pop-up books, but to my eyes, this is the most original. While the Christmas ones are quite wonderful, after seeing a bunch of his books all at once, I really liked the coherence of this tale, which is not just a collection of Christmas images.

Santoro, Lucio. Journey to the moon by Lucio and Meera Santoro. New York: Little Simon, 2006. This just blew me away. How did they make these images three-dimensional? Plus, it tells a fun story of how you journey by boat, plane, rocket and finally to the moon. I wish I could have given it to my nephew when he was younger!

This is only a fraction of the collection that I had so much fun exploring. I urge all of you to go out and look at the pop-up books in bookstores and libraries. It's clearly a golden age for pop-up book design and illustration today. I'm just amazed at what they are like today. I certainly don't remember pop-ups from my childhood being like this!