Thursday, September 4, 2008

ABCs: Children's Names

Since September is traditional back-to-school month in many parts of the world, including for my own family, I thought I would spend this month blogging about one of my passions: the alphabet!

ABC books were among my favorites when I was a child. I can still remember puzzling over little p and little q and trying to remember which was which. In my favorite childhood ABC book, which I sadly no longer have, P and Q were on facing pages, and it helped me to look at them side by side and notice the subtle differences between the two letters. In that book, Q stood for Quack.

Several years ago, I read about someone who collected ABC books, and immediately I wanted to collect them, too. As I looked at my children's bookshelves, I realized I was off to a great start. I was already a collector and just hadn't realized it!

My collection is not academic. I don't look for first editions or signed copies. I don't buy every ABC book I find. My rule for adding a book to my collection is simply that I like the book. Sometimes the art work appeals to me. Other times I like the story it tells, or how the alphabet is presented.

This month I will feature, in no particular order, some of my favorite ABC books. It was hard to know where to start, and this book is what I finally decided on:

I start with this one because I consider it the first ABC book I acquired as an adult. Before I became a mom, I was a reference librarian. I worked at the public library when I was pregnant, and one of my colleagues found this book in the library book sale and bought it for me as a gift for the mom-to-be. It's a facsimile. I cannot find a date for the original. Likely that date is unknown.
Notice how the cover ties shut with a ribbon. The pages are uncut, and fold out accordion style.
When you open the cover, the pages are on the left instead of the right.
The names alternate, boy, girl, throughout the alphabet, and there is a little poem for each child.
Some of the children are quite sweet, but as you would expect from a vintage text, many of the children are naughty, and little lessons and morals are sprinkled throughout.


I like this book because of the artwork, the colors, the old-fashioned text, the ribbon closure, and the fact that a very favorite colleague gave it to me.