Monday, October 1, 2007

What was your favorite?

I was asked on Saturday to come up with a list of beloved children's books, now out of print, with possible commercial potential. I came up with:

The Thirteenth is Magic by Joan Howard (story of siblings who live in a New York City apartment building where - mysteriously - there is no 13th floor) (the fact that used copies are over $100 might indicate there is indeed demand!)

Emmy Keeps a Promise by Madye Lee Chastain (19th century story of sisters Emmy and Arabel who come to New York City to make their fortune - or, at least, Arabel comes to teach in a private school for young ladies and Emmy comes to keep an eye on Arabel)

The Lark in the Morn by Elfrida Vipont (first of two books about Kit Haverard, the "untalented" child of a musical Quaker family who finally discovers where she fits in)

I would have included the Mushroom Planet books except that the first one is still in print. My nephew liked the first one but it may be hard to get him all the sequels. I remember selling a tired ex-library copy on eBay a few years ago for $50.

If I could include adult books, I would start with Elswyth Thane's Williamsburg novels, of course. They desperately need to be introduced to a new generation. They might be my all time favorites (a strong statement, indeed!).

Any other suggestions?


Bully said...

Before I scanned down all the way I was shouting "The Mushroom Planet books!" We think alike. It's scary.

Okay, well, then, Hugh Lofting's Doctor Dolittle books. Doctor Dolittle on the Moon is one of my favorite books of all time...moody, scary, and with a lovely humanistic point of view about humanity's need to live alongside other living beings, including plants. There's even a discussion of evolution as a valid and probably reasoning for weird moon animals to have formed the way they did, which is pretty dense and heady stuff for 1928.

Plus, all the books are as fun as all get out. But publishers have tried reprinting them to no great sales, so it's got to be uphill work to position them for modern kids.

CLM said...

I have to say that although I received a nice edition of Dr. Dolittle one Christmas and read it dutifully, I never felt any desire to read more. I would suggest Jennings if I thought they weren't too acquired a taste (yes, I know you and I love them, and my friend Nicky, but that is not enough to float a print run!).

Hey, did you read Danny Dunn?

Melody said...

The Susannah books by Muriel Denison would be at the top of my list. There are a few copies of the first one floating around, but the other three are so hard to find.
Susannah of the Mounties, Susannah of the Yukon, Susannah Rides Again and Susannah At Boarding School are the titles.

CLM said...

Very good suggestion! I have never read any of them (I guessed turned off by the Shirley Temple connection) but I am sure I would enjoy.

Laura said...

I just reread Thane's EVER AFTER. I closed the book and let out a blissful sigh. Nothing is better than the Williamsburg books...they are so rich and detailed with "family" news -- but the way she writes them, when one of the characters gets a letter or whatnot, telling what's going on with the extended family, it really feels like catching up with beloved family, not as though she's checking off lists when she tells us what's going on. And the books have a romantic aura that just can't be matched. They are my "desert island" books. :)

Best wishes,