Category Archives: Vintage Books

Vintage Bookshelf // Happy Origami! 1960

Oh Happy Origami! So guys, this is a really neat book I’ve been dying to share with you. When you love and collect vintage kid’s books, you really get to know the colors and textures of the spines as you pull them off the shelves. But every once in a while, you get a new surprise. This book was one of them. The book’s soft cover was slightly curved and had an odd spine—tied with twine. I was excited to see it was an origami book—the art of Japanese paper folding! I was really into this as a little girl so I was eager take a peek .As I opened the book, I saw thin onion skin paper imprinted with directions for making charming paper characters. But the fun really happened as I turned the page:

Each page features real dimensional folded origami characters, tipped in on the page! It’s like each page is a little work of art. The book is SO beautiful and lovely. I couldn’t believe it.

Happy Origami: The Japanese Art of Paper Folding, by Tatsuo Miyawaki, printed in Japan in 1960. Published by Biken-Sha of Hiroshima, Japan. My edition is called the “Whale Book”. Wee!

The back cover has a pocket where the colorful squares of folding paper were stored—alas, mine is missing the paper.

I haven’t found much about these books, they seem to be somewhat rare. What I do know, is that Happy Origami was a series produced in the early 60s and in addition to the Whale book there was a Swallow book and a Tortoise book and one other one, that I’m not sure of the title….but look how cute the cover is:

Have you ever tried origami??

That Wild Rumpus in the Sky // RIP Maurice Sendak.

I was so saddened to hear that Maurice Sendak died today at the age of 83. He created so many magical worlds for children to explore—none more famous than the brilliant, Where the Wild Things Are. This was one of Wolfie’s absolute favorites when he was little. Our copy is taped and dog eared from many bed time readings….it makes me happy just to see its well worn, well-loved pages. Wolfie had a “Max” plushie as well as 2 of the “Monsters” and I can still see his little three year old self walking around with them in hand.

All of Maurice Sendak’s other books are marvelous too. One of my favorites is the lesser known, What Do You Say, Dear? (1958) which was a collaboration with Sesyle Joslin. I loved it as a kiddo. The illustrations are so awesome!

And then there’s In the Night Kitchen. Which is a little surreal but weirdly wonderful! And of course “The Nutshell Library” (1962), a boxed set of four tiny volumes including “Alligators All Around,” “Chicken Soup With Rice,” “One Was Johnny” and “Pierre.” If you can find it, the Where the Wild Things Are (and Other Maurice Sendak Stories) DVD is really great….it has Carole King singing folksy cool musical versions of all the songs. Did you read these books to your kiddos? Did they love them too?

Such a creative mind….Mr. Sendak, we bow down before you. I hope wherever you are you continue to make mischief of one kind….and another.


Vintage Bookshelf :: Black + White and Pink all Over.

Most of the vintage children’s books I show off have luscious rich illustrations—in bold colors and jewel tones that I just love! But for a little twist, I thought it would be fun to take a look at a more parred down book. What happens when the illustrations get a bit simpler? Say… and white. I  have a few books like this with just a hint of color and honestly,  they are every bit as excellent as the colorful ones. Let’s take a look!

Ahhh, I love how clean and simple the colors in this book look. Just black, white and a splash of pink. But oh what a splash it is! It just goes to show you how effective even the teensiest bit of color can be!


This is the House Where Jack Lives. By Joan Heilbronner. Illustrations by the marvelous Aliki. 1962.

{PS Sorry the photos are a little wonky…oddly enough, the colors were really hard to capture—they grey kept blowing out on me!}

Vintage Book Shelf :: My Tiny 3-D Puppet Books

Oooh weee! I had the most awesome find a month or so ago at the thrift store. You guys already know I have an obsession with vintage kid’s book…and usually it’s for the nifty illustrations. BUT these puppet storybooks from the 60s have a special place in my heart. They are so cool and fun! Typically the cover had this scratchy lenticular (aka 3-D) postcard on them and then inside cool photos of the puppet dolls acting out the stories. They remind me so much of the Rankin & Bass Christmas specials—like Rudolph. I always expect the characters in these books to start moving!

So as I was scanning the books like I always do, I was thrilled to find one! And then low and behold I found another….and then another. And suddenly I realized I had ELEVEN of them in my hand!!!! Holy smokes, talk about insta-collection!

Each one has an inscription to Cindy from grandma and “papa” Vasner—so sweet. It looks like she got one for every birthday and christmas. I’m sad she gave up her collection, but how lucky for me to have inherited it! Let’s take a look inside some of them.

I think this quirky “Tell Me What Time it Is!” book is pretty terrific. The little mock lederhosen on the boy are too cute. Check it out:


Pretty cute huh! But I have to say that this CINDERELLA book is one of my super favorites. I had one as a little girl and just loooooved seeing the fancy gowns!

Ahhhhh that dress! Also, can we discuss the crazy bunz on the stepsisters??? They were poofin’ long before The Snooki.

I just love these books, don’t you? The history behind them is pretty neat. You can read a little more about them in the post I did about one of my faves 3-D puppet books, Rocket Trip to the Moon! Do you have any Tiny 3-D books? Do you remember them from when you were a kiddo?

Vintage Book Shelf :: Science Books Get Groovy

It’s time for another edition of the Vintage Book Shelf! Sometimes the coolest books come in the most unexpected forms. Like these science books! You wouldn’t think a book on math would have the most interesting graphics, but here’s where the vintage masters prove us wrong! I mean, the text is arguably a tad dry…but the illustrations and graphics? Soo excellent! I walked past this book 5 times, trying to resist its lure. But that cover, with it’s hypnotic pink and blue futuristic swirly bob had me under its spell! Let’s take a lil look-see at some of these cool books. I think you’re gonna love ’em as much as I do!

How amazing is that inside cover?? I love it. The illustrations in this one were mostly black and white drawings, but sprinkled throughout are cool images.

I love the kids here, especially the boy’s cool little socks…and that little magnet in his hand!

Speaking of magnets, for some reason I have a small collection of magnet books. And each one is SO good!

The top book is from the 70s and has very cool looking Euro kids. Purple and green living room? Why yes please!

The next one is from the 60s and has simple drawings in the best colors:

And even though the last book only has simple, black and white drawings, they’re by Bernice Myers (one of my favorites!) and they are super fun. I especially love the hands:

If you’ve never seen Bernice Myer’s work before, you’re in for a treat! I posted her book, The Pear Shaped Hill a while back and it’s sooo awesome. You can see it here! My book collection is getting a little outta control, but I really can’t resist a vintage kid’s book, ya know? They’re one of my all time favorite things to collect!

What do you think? Are you as taken by these scientific treasures as I am??