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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

31 Days, 31 Lists: 2021 Picture Book Reprints

“Out-of-print.”

Oooo. *shivers* Did I scare you? For some of us, there are few words in the English language more deadly than that. Out-of-print can be a death sentence for many a book. And of the hundreds and hundreds of children’s books that go out of print every year, only a small handful find themselves reprinted later. And of THOSE, only a very few make it to this list. Which is a very long way of saying, I didn’t have to do as much work today (woohoo!).

Enjoy these sweet little zombies then!


2021 Picture Book Reprints

Brookie and Her Lamb by M.B. Goffstein

This year, two Goffstein treasures are seeing their way back to print thanks to the efforts of the New York Review Children’s Collection. Of these two, Fish for Supper once won itself a Caldecott Honor. All well and good, but I think that when it comes right down to it I prefer the sweet and exceedingly simple Brookie and Her Lamb. The story begins in such a way as to fool you into thinking that it’ll be a play on the song “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. It reads, “Brookie had a little lamb and she loved him very much.” But where Mary would take her lamb to school, Brookie prefers to try her hand at schooling her lamb herself. He has a good singing voice, but all he can sing is “Baa baa baa”. He can read, but all he reads is “Baa baa baa”. So she writes him songs that are all “Baa baa baa” and she writes him books that all read “Baa baa baa”. And she loves him very much. The art of Goffstein is thin lines of ink and the size of the book is a petite 5” X 6 ½”. Little books for little hands full of little stories of comfort and cheer. Just delightful. 

Now about getting Laughing Latkes back in print . . . .

Good Night, Good Night by Sandra Boynton

I’m shocked. Thoroughly shocked. When I had babies in my house, I had board books that I would read not merely a hundred times or more, but a hundred times or more with pleasure. And when I was putting my children down to sleep, The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton was a staple. I LOVED that book. I had a whole lilting thing I’d do with my voice as I tried to lull my kids into a state of sleepiness. We even had the app (in those early days of picture book apps which lasted, like, five years max). So to find that this book, which I adored, has been expanded comes as a bit of a shock to the system. It has a new name and a new ending, and they assure me that it has been redrawn by the author, but this is pretty much the book I remember. The old 1982 one is still around under its original name, and some computer art has been utilized with the new shading, but Sandra’s still got it, baby! Seriously, I’m waiting for her hand to grow less steady, but it never does. The expanded section? Two little rabbits now sing a song that I will need to look up since I can’t read music all that well. It’s cute! So I give this new edition a rollicking two thumbs way way up. 

The Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown, ill. Garth Williams

Look. I’m going to lay it on the line for you. If you are a children’s librarian who has joined a branch that has existed for a long time, you may share a story similar to the one I’m about to recount here. It was one of my first days as a newly fledged children’s librarian. I had just received my first position as an assistant children’s librarian at the Jefferson Market Branch of New York Public Library. The librarian who worked there had been in that same location for a very long time. At least 30 years. As such, the back office was a bit on the old and dusty side. So I was in the tiny back office tidying up when I had to put my hand behind a couple books to make them stand up straight. I did so and immediately my hand grazed real fur. There is no mistaking that feeling. I shrieked like I’d just plunged my hand into a rat king and pulled it out whip fast. Nothing moved or squeaked though, so I cautiously parted the books and found a small copy of The Little Fur Family tucked away behind. Did you know that this book was originally bound in real rabbit fur so it would be extra snuggly to children? Sure. Snuggly for kids. A children’s librarian’s worst nightmare when lost behind some books. Somewhere, that day, the ghost of Margaret Wise Brown was splitting her sides laughing. Meanwhile, I’ve never quite looked at the book the same way again, but I can attest that this 75th anniversary edition is NOT made with bunnies. So file it away, safe in the knowledge that there is now only a 50% chance that another librarian will, in 75 years, suffer the same fate that I did.

The New Friend by Charlotte Zolotow, ill. Benjamin Chaud

When called upon to do so, Charlotte Zolotow had the ability to take a knife and stab it directly into your heart. Most folks remember her for William’s Doll and her pairing with Sendak on Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present. We would be amiss in not recognizing that she produced far more titles than these three, however. I was not personally familiar with The New Friend, which published back in 1968 with art by Emily Arnold McCully (who is still alive and making books, by the way). Benjamin Chaud is a rather inspired choice for the new edition. Who better than a Frenchman to capture the wistful regrets and quiet acceptance of letting a friend go? And this story is a heartbreaker. A boy talks about a friend he made and had so much fun with. Then he finds, almost by accident, that he has been carelessly abandoned for a new friend. Wrecked by the knowledge he cries himself to sleep and has a dream where he makes a new friend again. I will now write out the last lines of this book because I think they’re remarkable:

“I will look for that new friend and when I find her I’ll remember my first friend / my dear friend / with long brown hair. But maybe then / I won’t care!”

Part of the book’s charm, apart from the art, is how the sentences in this title are broken up. It’s like poetry on the page. I don’t know if it was Chaud or the Art Director making some of these changes, but the way it’s handled allows for wordless two-page spreads and a lot of breathing room. There’s not a lot of text, but what little there is packs a wallop. Remarkably well done. 

A Season on Flowers by Michael Garland

Apparently this book came out as a picture book a couple years ago, but I have a hard time imagining it. You know when a book is adapted into a board book and you simply can’t think of it any other way? That’s the situation we’re dealing with here. Garland simultaneously introduces you to the different seasons of the year while sneakily labeling each plant he runs across as he goes. I can tell you that after reading this, I want to run out and buy myself some lupine seeds immediately. Colorful and completely pretty, it’s just a really good look at all the weather in all the different times of the year. Glad to see it in this format at last. 


Care to see the previous years’ lists? Then check these out:

And here’s what else is on the docket this month:

December 1 – Great Board Books

December 2 – Board Book Reprints & Adaptations

December 3 – Transcendent Holiday Picture Books

December 4 – Picture Book Readalouds

December 5 – Rhyming Picture Books

December 6 – Funny Picture Books

December 7 – CaldeNotts

December 8 – Picture Book Reprints

December 9 – Math Books for Kids

December 10 – Books with a Message

December 11 – Fabulous Photography

December 12 – Wordless Picture Books

December 13 – Translated Titles

December 14 – Fairy Tales / Folktales / Religious Tales

December 15 – Unconventional Children’s Books

December 16 – Middle Grade Novels

December 17 – Poetry Books

December 18 – Easy Books & Early Chapter Books

December 19 – Older Funny Books

December 20 – Science Fiction Books

December 21 – Fantasy Books

December 22 – Informational Fiction

December 23 – American History

December 24 – Science & Nature Books

December 25 – Autobiographies *NEW TOPIC!*

December 26 – Biographies

December 27 – Nonfiction Books for Older Readers

December 28 – Nonfiction Picture Books

December 29 – Best Audiobooks for Kids

December 30 – Comics & Graphic Novels

December 31 – Picture Books

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About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.

Comments

  1. I’ve been on a bit of a Boynton kick, and found that her Chocolate: A Consuming Passion was reprinted. Had a copy back in the 80s that fell apart, so was glad to see it, but may have also ordered a copy of But not the Armadillo, which I didn’t know existed. Such good stuff, although I wish I could still get greeting cards at the campus bookstore…

  2. I had to share the Fur Family story with my office mate because I was laughing so hard! Thank you for sharing and reminding me again to check out the new Boynton book.

  3. The Dead Bird (which I love) is by Margaret Wise Brown, not Charlotte Zolotow.

    I always enjoy these lists, thank you!

  4. Rachel J Fremmer says

    I love that the book about flowers is by someone named Garland.

  5. My unsentimental husband referred to our three children as his “little fur family” after reading this book. I am very fond of it!