Growing up, my sister and I shared the attic bedroom. In many ways it was a world all our own. It was a magical place with desks built into the walls and a bookshelf that ran the length of the stairwell creating sort of a balcony effect. This shelf housed hundreds of well-loved books. Our favorite books were always changing, but there is one that I consider one of my all-time favorites: Deans Mother Goose Book of Rhymes, 1977 Edition...and I still have it.
My grandparents, who lived just down the street from us growing up, gave the book to us, and I believe that she bought one for each of my sisters as well. Here is the inscription:
Now, I'm not sure how much added value my 3-year-old scribbles bring to this copy of the book, but I looked online, and a new copy of this book is selling for $499.00!!! I'm thinking that my book is now worth anywhere from $50-$199, as that is what used copies of this exact edition are selling for on Amazon and Ebay. Note to self...hang onto the good ones! I'd never dream of selling this though! Obviously, the sentimental value is just too great!
As you can see, the artwork in this book is amazing! That is what I remember most as a child--getting completely lost in the rich, romantic, warm illustrations. Even the ragged characters' clothing, texture, and depth is just beautiful. Each page is a masterpiece in and of itself!
I guess I always thought it would be so neat if people still dressed this way. Just look at the detail on the clothing! And many of the rhymes are just no longer repeated in the home, let alone in print!
This picture of the cat in a dress used to fascinate me! I remember inspecting the hole made by the coal and thinking, "Oh, dear, she's in trouble now!!"
I liked this page a lot for obvious reasons...
There seemed to be a lot of kissing, and being sweet on, and marrying going on between boys and girls and men and women in the illustrations. The idea of romance, playing house, getting married, having children, being a mother, and carrying for children was portrayed in a beautiful way. I love how the children are portrayed so realistically. Many of the pages show them getting into normal childhood mischief, yet their innocence and wonder remains in tact.
Now that I look back, I can fairly easily recognize that this strong sense of family--parents who are in love, a mother who is present in the home, and siblings playing together--which was very strongly represented in this book is THE reason why I loved this book so well, and why it stood out from all of the rest as a treasure.
Now as I compare this book to similar books of nursery rhymes that are available to our kids, I appreciate this version even more. The nursery rhymes are sweet, straight-forward, and timeless. In my kids' rendition, for instance, the author has switched "What little girls are made of" to make it read that they are made of snakes, and snails and puppy dog tails. Why mess with a perfectly good nursery rhyme, I ask you? I'm so glad to have this for my kids to enjoy!