Neato 1953 “Jack-in-the-Book” (and other pictorial news from my vacation)

Who knew that being in love with a Minnesotan would bring such children’s literature bounty!?

I spent last week in Minneapolis with Dan’s (or, in internet speak, @danhooker’s) family.  We spent most of the time in the house thanks to a horrifying case of food poisoning.  While couple’s food poisoning led to many prostrate hours watching Deadliest Catch on TiVo, it also allowed for much unexpected fun that is actually relevant to this blog.

First things first.  Dan’s ma and pa were kind enough to let me ship my eBay win to them to save on shipping.  Behold, my much-anticipated Sweet Valley High board game (from a pet-free, smoke-free home, natch):

The best $17.99 USD I've ever spent!

We put it into action the first night (pre-food poisoning).

Dan (as Jessica) won. Hussy.

I was over the moon when I realized that Dan looks exactly like Winston Egbert!

Dan’s dad always finds me awesome stuff at Half Price Books when we visit and this trip was no exception.  Look – a first edition Hoot!

Even cooler, check out this self-proclaimed “Jack-in-the-Book,” Betty Plays Lady (Samuel Lowe Company, 1953):

I love pop-up/pop-out/toy books though I don’t know much about them.  Betty is especially cool because it is a kind of paper doll, pop-out hybrid that allows you to change Betty’s outfit each time you turn the page.  As you see, Betty starts off kind of smushed:

But once you unfold her legs and head, she’s ready to play some serious lady:

This outfit is one that I would actually wear:

A nod to the Dutch:

Betty finds some kinda trampy clothes in Grandma’s attic:

The fashion fun continues on the back cover:

I just love this book and anticipate the day when I will have to keep it on a high shelf to keep my own little ones from dismembering Betty.

While waiting for the food bacteria to leave my body, I also stumbled across a German version of Winnie-the-Pooh on one of the family’s many bookshelves.  Dan’s family is not German, making this find all the more delightful and random. Note: if you are lucky enough to find someone in this life who has parents that own a German version of Pooh, don’t let him/her out of your sight.  Whatta find.

This may be the most violent novel to ever have a baby blue cover. Love it!

Oh yes, I also read Mockingjay. I don’t have anything particularly enlightening to say and I’m not going to be a spoilin’ Susie  (if you’re looking for some stimulating yet spoiler-y discussion, you’ll find it here).  I have to say that I was kind of bored for the first 250 pages, but the last 130 pages were freakin’ awesome.  I was also happy with the ending.  But, as with the other books, I wanted more kissin’ (although I know Collins isn’t really the kissin’ type and that there is not much time for kissin’ whilst fighting for one’s life).  Bottom line: I’m glad I hung on to my Chapters gift certificate for months and spent it on Katniss and the gang.

And, finally, although this is not related to children’s literature, I am happy to report that I got to meet one of my childhood idols, Smokey the Bear.  We dragged our sick selves to the Minnesota State Fair (and lasted about an hour) but it was worth it to see/meet Smokey.  He is a bear of few words (and no shirt).

Childhood dreams do come true.

One thought on “Neato 1953 “Jack-in-the-Book” (and other pictorial news from my vacation)”

  1. I also have the Sweet Valley High Board game. Shannon, we may be board game soulmates…whenever you’re in Toronto you totally have a place to stay (and a place to play).


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