What children's anthology is this?
March 20, 2011 3:01 PM   Subscribe

Searching for a children's anthology probably published between 1950 and 1970.

When I was a kid, my grandmother the librarian gave me an old anthology that the library was getting rid of. It included a bunch of Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox stories, a story about a boy whose grandmother had a bric-a-brac, a story with a dancing bear, and one about brownies (the elves, not the baked goods). It was mostly text with a few illustrations, which I remember being in red and green ink. I read it in the late eighties, but it was quite old by then.

Does anyone know what specific book/series of books this could be?
posted by brina to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Was it the Better Homes and Gardens Story Book, edited by Betty O'Connor; Des Moines: Meredith Publishing, 1950 (scroll down, here). If this isn't it, maybe another cover rings a bell?

"Contents: The Little Red Hen, A Rose is Red, The Nonsense ABC, The Story of Little Black Sambo, How Charlie Made Topsy Love Him, Hurt No Living Thing, The House That Jack Built, Finger Games, The Owl and the Pussy Cat, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, What is Pink? A Rose is Pink, Names, Meeting the Easter Bunny, 1 and 1 are 2, Months of the Year, The Goops: Table Manners, Uncle Remus Initiates the Little Boy, The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story, The Mitten Song, The Little Turtle, One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, Butter, Ten Little Indians, Over in the Meadow, The Old Woman and Her Pig, Days of the Week, The King's Breakfast, Rain, Lines and Squares, The Brownies' Circus, The Wind, Who Has Seen the Wind?, The Elephant's Child, Peter Pan in Never-Never-Never-Land, The Pirate Ship, A Curious Pup, From a Railway Carriage, Trains, About Elizabeth Eliza's Piano, Pledge of Allegiance, The Flag Goes By, The Story of Live Dolls, The Swing, Thanksgiving Day, The Lion and the Mouse, The Ants and the Grasshopper, Belling the Cat, Old Mother Hubbard, All Through the Night, The Night Before Christmas."
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:06 PM on March 20, 2011

Response by poster: More info:

The story of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby was definitely in the book, as was the story of Brer Rabbit and the Briar Patch. Probably what's significant about this is that the stories were not told in the vernacular; that is to say, the stories looked less like this and more like this.

The story about the dancing bear involved, I believe, an escaped circus bear that somehow ended up in a boy's mother's apron, dancing in the yard. There was an illustration of a bear wearing an apron and standing on its hindquarters. All illustrations in the book were single-color, in either red or green.

The story about the bric-a-brac was unusual in that it just seemed to be about a kid whose grandmother had such a piece of furniture, and about him learning the word. He *may* have used the bric-a-brac to start a lemonade stand.

I think there were a few Aesop's fables thrown in. The anthology had a bit of everything and was about the length of a novel. All fiction, no activities or anything of that sort thrown in.

There were almost certainly at least two books.

Monkeytoes: Thanks, that's very close but I don't think it's quite right for a few reasons. For one thing, my edition had a different cover, one that was plain and grey. It may have been library binding, though. The other problem is that while a bunch of those stories were in the antholog(ies) I had for sure: The Little Red Hen, A Rose is Red, The Owl and the Pussy Cat, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story, Ten Little Indians, The Old Woman and Her Pig, The Brownies' Circus, The Ants and the Grasshopper. But some I don't remember/don't think I've heard of, and some seem completely out of place (like the pledge of allegiance).

Is it possible there were similar anthologies being published in that era, or other editions?
posted by brina at 4:20 PM on March 20, 2011

I had one volume from the "My Bookhouse" series which was similar, but there were probably many anthologies like that. Mine was "My Bookhouse: Up One Pair of Stairs" and I remember a brownies story in there along with several others you mention.
posted by girlhacker at 8:42 PM on March 20, 2011

This sounds so familiar, but I've spent the last 15 minutes googling to no avail. There was a series I had as a kid growing up in the late 1960s-early 1970s that I think is what you are looking for! Plain, grey covers, a few 2-color illustrations, and a mix of stories and fables. Each book about the length of a kids' novel. In my memory it was published by Reader's Digest, but I could be completely wrong. Anyway, thought I'd mention it in case it triggers someone else's memory.
posted by chez shoes at 8:54 PM on March 20, 2011

It might be an Enid Blyton anthology. She wrote The Book of Brownies and a retelling of Brer Rabbit stories. Maybe that will help your search.
posted by amyms at 9:24 PM on March 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Enid Blyton Society website has a list of all the anthology books in which her stories have appeared.
posted by amyms at 9:30 PM on March 20, 2011

Response by poster: Hey all. Just to update, it's definitely not an Enid Blyton anthology. It might be that I had a first edition of The Family Treasury of Children's Stories, which have that red and green color scheme and seem to have a lot of overlap. I'd need to get a look at an actual copy to know for sure, but it's the closest to my memory thus far. I just wish I could find that picture of the dancing bear!

Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions. If you happen to come across an old anthology with a story about a dancing bear and another about a bric-a-brac, please do drop me a line. Chez shoes, it's good to know I'm not the only person who remembers these books!
posted by brina at 2:51 PM on March 21, 2011

Best answer: Would you humor me and tell me if any of these Junior Deluxe Editions covers (all done in the same style) seem familiar? (If borked, try an images search for "junior deluxe editions.") "The Family Treasury of Children's Stories" (Ed. Pauline Rush Evans) was issued in two volumes as part of this series. A cursory search suggests that Vol. 1 is for little kids, and Vol. 2 is pitched slightly older, and would include the kinds of stories you mention.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:13 PM on March 21, 2011

posted by MonkeyToes at 6:19 PM on March 21, 2011

Images from inside-- Family Treasury "edited by Pauline Rush Evans with wonderful bw & color illustrations by Donald Sibley. Doubleday & Company, Inc. c1956, likely first ed."

More pictures and content here (though darned if I can get them to slow down...)
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:32 PM on March 21, 2011

Response by poster: Monkeytoes, looked at the photos and am still not sure. I think I probably had volumes two and three of The Family Treasury c1956. Thanks a ton for your help; now is the time when I hunt down an actual (physical) copy of one of these books and check it against my memory!
posted by brina at 4:24 PM on March 22, 2011

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