|Baldface Books ~ Dover, NH
With a bit of research, Emmy and I learned that Madeline Brandeis wrote works of fiction about children from the United Stares and from Europe that were interspersed with facts about these areas. Her inspiration for her writing about children from many lands came from reading books with her daughter Marie. They realized that many of these books were written many years ago and didn't portray children in modern times. With her daughter in tow, Ms. Brandeis took photographs on her reflex camera, nicknamed Ref, of the various regions as well as of actors who portrayed the characters she was writing about. Marie offered important insight to her mother. Brandeis said, "It was Marie who guided my footsteps along the right road towards child understanding while the trusty camera made possible the illustrations."
Although the books in Brandeis' series were written in the late 1920's and the 1930's, we still feel their relevance. I chose to purchase the book Little John of New England since this is the area where we live. Emmy enjoyed hearing the story of John who lived in Boston, but was left to live with his Aunt and Uncle in Maine while his parents went on a "motor trip." The story includes letters from John's mother telling of her New England adventures with his father. Emmy and I were both thrilled whenever she talked about a place where we have been. We both enjoyed John's relationship with the teacher at the one room country school. Miss Wells helped John come up with a plan to keep his dog Pal close by when his Aunt and Uncle sent the dog away to live in town due to his mischievous behavior.
Whenever Emmy and I are in a second hand bookstore, we will look for Brandeis' books. It will be like a scavenger hunt to us and when we find one, we will celebrate! We hope that you, too, will look for her beautiful books especially if you are searching for interesting chapter books to read with your child.
*We recently connected with Chris Otto who writes about all things ephemera on his blog Papergreat. I must admit that I had to look up the definition of ephemera! Ephemera is any transitory written or printed matter not meant to be retained or preserved; items of collectible memorabilia, typically written or printed ones, that were originally expected to have only short-term use. Chris' blog is full of beautifully illustrated post cards, recipe booklets and book covers from the past. My favorite sections on the blog are School Days where old basal readers can be found along with Tucked Away Inside where Chris features items he finds inside vintage books like a Dubble Bubble quiz tucked inside of an old school book. As a child, I loved reading the comics and the fortunes inside of Dubble Bubble gum!
After discovering that Emmy and I were also fans of The Children of America Stories, Chris sent us three books from his collection! To learn more about these vintage books with the beautifully illustrated covers, check out Chris' post Children of America Stories: 5 awesome vintage covers.
Thank you, Chris!