Another another important book?
August 7, 2013 7:56 PM   Subscribe

Help me find this picture book from the 70s or 80s!

When I was a kid (born in 1983, but with a sister five years older, so it might have been published in the 80s, 70s, or earlier), we had a kid's book that seemed to be a visual dictionary of some sort. It was illustrated, with very dense, detailed illustrations. Every pair of pages would be on another theme--one was a deli scene (the giant barrels of pickles stood out in my mind), another was of a cutaway of a house at night with different family members in different beds, another showed an aerial view of a town. In some ways, the illustrations reminded me of Richard Scarrys Best Word Book Ever, except they featured humans, not animals. If I recall correctly, there was an illustration of two kids at the beach on the inside cover.

I've had trouble finding this, in part because it seems to have fused in my mind with Margaret Wise Brown's The Important Book; until recently, I could have sworn it was called "The Important Thing About Book", but the illustrations and text to Margaret Wise Brown's book don't seem at all right. Any ideas, metafilter?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I feel like this is What Do People Do All Day but you've probably thought of that already?
posted by elizardbits at 7:59 PM on August 7, 2013

Response by poster: I'm 99% sure it was people, which rules out Richard Scarry's books (if I recall correctly they were particularly 70s looking people, like kids with slightly shaggy hair), but otherwise What Do People Do All Day is so close and it drives me nuts, furreal.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:06 PM on August 7, 2013

I'm fairly certain that the book that you remember is this, Little Bunny Follows His Nose:
posted by younggreenanne at 8:38 PM on August 7, 2013

I don't think this matches all your criteria, but it's not Peter Spier's People, is it?
posted by pretentious illiterate at 8:43 PM on August 7, 2013

Response by poster: No, neither of those!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:46 PM on August 7, 2013

How about A House is a House for Me first published in 1983 (?) and includes a page about pickles ("barrels are houses for pickles"). It definitely has dense detailed drawings. In fact, I told my daughter recently that I was amazed how one person could illustrate that whole book.
posted by Dansaman at 9:53 PM on August 7, 2013

Best answer: I'm finding lots of hits for preschool children's books from the right timeframe by Joy T. Friedman, variously titled "The Important Thing About" ... "What's So Important About?" ... or "An Important Thing," but I'm not turning up any scans or even written descriptions. Amazon should allow you to contact some of the sellers for more info, if those seem likely.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:28 PM on August 7, 2013

Best answer: Oh, Sounds All Around is definitely by Joy T. Friedman. Perhaps its cover has the same style as The Important Thing About and maybe it will strike you as familiar.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:41 PM on August 7, 2013

Best answer: Aha--covers for The Important Thing About and/or What's So Important About by Joy Troth Friedman. I hope that was worth it, LOL.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:53 PM on August 7, 2013

Your description made me think of Busy Day Busy People, published in 1973. My copy is somewhere at my mom's house so I can't look for pickles. It's not a word book/visual dictionary, though - I'm pretty sure there are a few sentences of explanation for each scene and that's it.
posted by camyram at 4:54 AM on August 8, 2013

It wasn't an early David Macaulay book, was it?
posted by Rock Steady at 6:54 AM on August 8, 2013

Response by poster: It was definitely, 100% this book, though I haven't been able to find a used copy of this version. Some interior pages from Sounds All Around look right, too, so I bought a copy of both that and "What's So Important About . . ." I will report back on the presence of pickles when the books arrive. Thanks, metafilter!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:00 AM on August 8, 2013

Response by poster: SUCCESS! It is, indeed, The Important Thing About/What's So Important About (they appear to be the same book) by Joy Troth Friedman. The pickles look just as delicious as I remember. Eat your heart out, Margaret Wise Brown.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:15 PM on August 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

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