Find of the Week: Vintage Children’s Books and a Puzzle

I was out running errands on Saturday and realized I’d be close to our local community center where the monthly children’s book sale was starting. It was the first day of a two-day sale and had just opened up a few minutes prior. Yes!! But my smile faded when I saw the packed parking lot. Sure enough the room was jammed with parents, kids and others pickers. Drat, I wasn’t in the mood for a crowd!

keep-calmOf course I went in anyway, but it was hard to move around and hard to concentrate. (Though it was nice to see all the excited kids with their parents!) Most people were considerate, a few not. I was looking at the puzzles when I heard a woman say “excuse me” with a great deal of exasperation in her voice. But in the same second she said it, without giving me a chance to move in closer to the shelf (not that there was much more room), she brushed past me knocking into me. I turned to look at her retreating back…humph, not even an apology…well really!

In the end I barely stayed 10 minutes but I did grab a few vintage children’s song books. For some reason I love songbooks. Of course the illustrated ones can be quite sweet, but I think it’s the graphic quality of music that appeals to me. (Wouldn’t it be fun to have a room wallpapered in musical scores?)

Some of the songs in the three books seem to be the type you don’t hear any more and that’s a good thing. A few were decidedly racist and sexist. There is one song where a grandmother tells her granddaughter to “never be bold and always do as you are told” which rankles me!

My favorite songbook of the bunch was the 1958 “Music for Living Through the Day” illustrated by Feodor Rojankovksy. (Say that fast three times!) It’s a teacher’s book produced by the California Dept. of Education featuring songs like “Busy Trucks,” “My Little Dog,” “Little Red Caboose,” “The PawPaw Patch” and “Now Let Me Fly.” (Do kids sing songs like this anymore??) Here’s a song many of us will remember…


I also picked up a 1978 “Cops and Robbers” by Janet and Allen Ahlberg. At home I discovered that if mine had been the UK first edition as opposed to the U.S. first edition it would have been worth scads more…like hundreds of dollars more!!! Rats!


Found a neat 1943 edition of “The Illustrated Bible Story Book: New Testament” though poetic license was certainly taken with some of the illustrations!


Hmmm…a blonde Baby Jesus??

And here’s a slightly scary zombie Jesus walking on the water! This is NOT how I picture this miracle happening. I mean who walks like that…even if they are on water??


I bought just one puzzle…a fabulous sheepdogs and sheep wood made-in-England puzzle by Optimago Junior. The retro image is by artist Edwin Noble (1876-1941) whose career focused on creating delightful animal illustrations. Even if you don’t have young children, I think these puzzles would look great on a coffee table. (If I still worked in an office cubicle environment, I’d bring them as a little stress reliever!)



So while it wasn’t much fun at the sale and there were no home runs, these charming purchases are my find(s) of the week! 🙂

How about you…any good finds??


  1. Jesus walking on water is my favorite. Did anyone think this picture could be scary for a child?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what I was thinking too! I’ll have to go through the book more carefully to see if they have other “goofy” illustrations. 🙂 – Karen


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