July 3, 2016

One day I realized that I lack copies of all my out-of-print books. The ones that my fans expect me to have are mostly copies of the books I wrote for children. I don’t have copies of them all. But I’m trying to address that problem.

The one title I always have on hand is Ann Likes Red, which became the favorite of hundreds of children as soon as it came out in 1965. These people have always been devoted to it for two reasons.

First, it’s easy to learn to read, which means that for many children it became the very first book they were able to read on their own. Children love the feeling of power brought by reading a whole book by themselves.

Second, it’s about an independent child who, when asked to choose, selects clothes in her favorite color and ends up with an all-red outfit. Children loved Ann’s independence in insisting on owning clothes in the color she liked best.

When these little readers grew up and wanted to share Ann Likes Red with their own children and grandchildren, it was out of print, but Purple House Press obliged, and the book was republished in 2001, and many people were made happy.

About the same time as Ann Likes Red came into its second printing, I was receiving requests for Ballerina Bess. Apparently, lots of little girls coveted that charming dress called a tutu which went with success at becoming a ballerina. So I had Ballerina Bess republished myself, along with my personal favorite, The Sandwich.

Meanwhile, I occasionally received requests for the others in the ten-book series.

Some people have asked me for a copy of their favorite as it appeared in the Initial Teaching Alphabet, known as i/t/a. I have no copies of the series that was published in i /t/a. When I make an online search, I do sometimes discover a used copy of one of those books as it appeared in the Early Start Readers.

This week I happened to find a copy of Bill and the Fish, and of course I ordered it. I haven’t received it yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing it again.

A few months ago I found a copy of The Tent and one of Big 
Beds and Little Beds. I was glad to pick them up for my collection. They are considered rare books, of course, so they are not cheap.

Last year I found a few copies of The Pine Park Team and purchased them. This book was published by Ginn and Company in 1974 and was not part of the i/t/a/ series or the Early Start Readers. I wrote it to accompany a series of readers that Ginn, the famous publishers of Dick and Jane, were preparing at that time.

Surprisingly, I also located two copies of Fear Not to Sow Because of the Birds, by Paul Keene, with heavy editing by me, published in 1988 by Globe Pequot Press. This is not a children’s book. Paul was this country’s first organic farmer. I was a client of Paul’s, and I admired the essays he included in his order sheets for organic flour and other fine products produced on his farm, Walnut Acres. I suggested he let me select and edit a group of his essays for a book about country living and natural farming. I obtained Globe Pequot as the book’s publisher and helped promote it.

Fear Not had a small readership. It was probably ahead of its time. The ideas in it are much more popular now than they were in the 1980s. After Paul’s passing, his family bought the remaining copies of the book from its publisher.

In any case, I was glad to pick up two copies of this book, because they are hard to find.

If I have mentioned your favorite book in this blog, and you haven’t been able to find it elsewhere, get in touch with me, and I will sell it to you for a fair price.

I realize now that I was only buying these books for you, anyway.