Friday, October 21, 2011

COLLECTION #81: Vintage School Pre-Primers

For me, reading has always been a complete joy; from the moment I opened my first pre-primer when I was five years old, to the novel I just finished. I have nothing but happy memories of my early reading experiences. Seeing and collecting vintage pre-primer books (reading readiness books) brings back so many memories of my time with Dick and Jane, Tip and Mitten, Alice and Jerry. But it wasn't really just the words that held all the magic: it was the enchanting illustrations. Chubby, pink-cheeked little boys and girls on roller skates, frolicking  with spotted dogs or yellow tabby cats, carrying books to school in picket-fenced neighborhoods. Moms in aprons. Dads with briefcases and fedoras. Curly headed blonde babies in cribs. Pretty teachers with pencil-thin skirts, who were kind and inspiring to their young charges.

For a school book collector like me, it's fun to see the differences between the different series of books for the same age groups. The vocabulary was similar, the stories generally followed the same script. But the illustrations are what set them apart.

The Houghton-Mifflin readers (shown here as The Big Show, and Tip and Mitten) had lovely illustrations. My favorites are by Corinne Malvern, who also illustrated some of my favorite Little Golden Books.

Beautiful illustrations by Corinne Malvern in the Big Show
I love this little A Picture Book for Jerry and Jane, with illustrations by Grace Bollert. It's from the late '30s, and the limited color palette and simple, graphic illustrations, are so charming and sweet.

A collection of pre-primers wouldn't be complete without at least one or two Dick and Jane pre-primers. I have two: We Come and Go, and We Work and Play.   The book Before We Read is also part of the Dick and Jane world, published by Scott, Foresman & Co.

From We Work and Play
 I must say, with all of these lovely books to look at, my favorites of all are the Alice and Jerry books, published by Row, Peterson & Co.  In my mind, these illustrations are absolutely stunning, adorable, and memorable. I'll share the rest of my Alice and Jerry books at a later time.

From Skip Along, an Alice and Jerry book

1 comment: said...

Any Dick and Jane book or similarly illustrated book is hard for me to pass up! They are tops on my list.