Beds, Bairns and Books

This was reblogged as it moves on to  children’s books from the 1930s.Jacqueline and book Roslyn RdThis week’s Sepia Saturday’s beginning point has a sick child in bed with his toys, attended by a doctor.  Fortunately in life that doesn’t happen too often . To me children and bed means bedtime reading.  But reading is also a daytine activity..  The lass above, now grown up and at University, obviously got pleasure from the sounds whch are telling the story., whereas her mother,  thirty years earlier preferred to concentrate on the pictures.

Barbara reading to Sally c June 1963That was, until she was old enough to choose her own book

Sally at bookshelfOr get an early education on how to avoid the traps laid in your path by the advertising industry by studying The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard

Sally book 9 months SunshineIt wasn’t long until she was reading to her dolls

Sally reading to dolls 2

But I would like to know why on her ninth birthdy she appears to be reading a book about Edmund Kean.  Where did that come from ?Sally reading 3-931970Seeing her sitting there with her legs curled up I wonder if that was the day that she stopped reading to find herself surrounded by water.  Her toddler brother had  brought the nozzle end of the garden hose in the back door and up the hall then gone back outside and turned on the tap.A silent flow crept through part of the house.

I’m pleased to say that she is still a reader.

But going back another generation …..

For  the previous generation  there are no suitable photos. But these books were gifts from the age of 5 to 10 in the 1930s  beginning from Santa, then from a very formal Mother and Father, followed by Grandma.

booksThe bottom book is The Children’s Treasure House all 768 pages published by in 1935 by Odhams Press of London.  It contains nearly 150 stories and poems by famous authors.

Pages 1The other big book, The Mammoth Wonder Book was published  the same year but was gifted in 1937..  These were gifts to an Australian girl who was to grow up reading little else but English stories. Is it  any wonder that the word paddock wasn’t in her vocabulary and who, when down on the farm, would talk about the cows in the meadows, apparently to the amusement of the adults ! “The Younger Sister” was given some Australian themed books.

It must have been some time before she could read those tomes for herself, but read them she did , again and again. By the time she was ten she was borrowing from the library in the Mechanics Institute.of  the small  Victorian country town of Castlemaine,   Only one trouble – the old spinster lady who presided over the books wouldn’t let her borrow the book Man-shy.  Never judge a book by its title.  Little did the librarian know, this one is about a red heifer who likes being free and escapes to the hills.

Here are some samples from The Children’s Treasure House.

Pages 2Pages 3Pages 4Pages 5Pages 6bPages 7Pages 8Pages 9Pages 10pages 11pages 12pages 13 pages 14pages 15pages 17

For more interpretations of this week’s theme  click on the links in Sepia Saturday .

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16 thoughts on “Beds, Bairns and Books

  1. This is a wonderful post. How fantastic that you have these pictures, which really do tell a story.

    This brought back memories of the Coles Funny Picture books, which I loved as a child. I wonder what ever happened to them?

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    • Gutenberg.org has one of the Coles books for free download. How about this little verse from it -
      Hickup, hickup, go away!
      Come again another day:
      Hickup, hickup, when I bake,
      I’ll give to you a butter-cake.

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  2. Sad to think, if things go as planned by the techno-geeks, children of the future will not have favorite books to take down from the shelf. They’ll have to satisfy themselves with memories of something they had on a tablet which could only be viewed as long as the battery was charged. And they won’t have books to pass along to their own children. It really does create a sad view of the future.

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful illustrations.

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    • Homes of the future are going to be very sterile with no visible books or newspapers. Will they have display cabinets for all their old electronic devices. And so they’ll reminisce – Darling remember when you used to communicate with this clucky old thing, when we used to call it texting. What strange old days. And how I used to have to tap, tap, tap away when I wanted to download a book. What a funny old word – download. And Grandpa was telling me about something he called DOS. I,m not sure if it was an old girlfriend of his or what ! Sorry ……..

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  3. Love your photos of families and books. The Grimm’s fairy tales looked so familiar I had to check my own copy but it was different. Isn’t it wonderful to see children loving books. A fond memory for me is that my Dad always brought me home something to read if I was sick for more than a day.

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