Remembering a poetry book from my childhood
May 26, 2016 9:19 AM   Subscribe

What was this anthology book from my childhood?? Read at my grandmother's house in the early to mid 1990s.

After the rousing success of my last book query, I'm brave enough to try this one.

My grandmother had this children's book that was about the size & page length of a children's bible [it was not a religious book]. It was mainly text and black-and-white drawings, although I remember there were several glossy pages with full-color images on them.

The illustrations in the book (at least some of them) were silhouettes, and they are similar in style in my mind's eye to Kara Walker's artwork.

I believe it was a compendium of different stories and/or poems, and I believe the font was serifed. Here are some different fonts that remind me of what it looked like.

Unfortunately I cannot remember the content very well, but it was definitely very 'Victorian era kittens and good girls and aprons and swingsets yesteryear' type of writing. Practically the definition of what a grandmother would think of for a children's book.

It was a hardback book, and the cover was white or ivory cloth and I don't believe there was much (if anything) printed on the front or back. I believe the title was printed on the spine. I first encountered the book in the early to mid 1990s. I don't believe it was an antique or more than a decade old.

I wish I had more details or a better memory for it, but this was so long ago!
posted by amicamentis to Writing & Language (8 answers total)
Was it Silver Pennies or More Silver Pennies?
posted by bq at 9:25 AM on May 26, 2016

That style and content [Silver Pennies] is spot on (!) but it didn't have the busy cover - are there other editions? I'm not seeing them in an images search...

Also, I don't remember the title being as cool as "Silver Pennies"... more like "Children's Tales" or something...
posted by amicamentis at 9:32 AM on May 26, 2016

Your description reminds me of the Golden Books Family Treasury of Poetry, which I grew up with (I don't remember mine having such a colorful cover; older editions had different covers). Lots of classic verse, from Coleridge to the Jabberwocky to funny epitaphs ("Here lies John Bunn, he was killed by a gun. His name was not Bunn, but Wood, but wood would not rhyme with gun and Bunn would."). And of course, Longfellow's "There Was a Little Girl" ("...when she was good, she was very very good. And when she was bad, she was horrid").

Could this have been it?
posted by teponaztli at 10:12 AM on May 26, 2016

There are a lot of different editions of these, but was it A Children's Garden of Verses or The Oxford Book of Poetry for Children?
posted by wintersweet at 11:51 AM on May 26, 2016

I don't think any of those were it... I'm not remembering this book as particularly "funny", more "19th century moralistic" and "ye olde English meadows in the sweet spring". I'll keep checking out different editions though!
posted by amicamentis at 12:15 PM on May 26, 2016

Is it The Wonderbook of Stories and Poems? I still have mine from the 80s. White cover, serif font, mostly silhouettes and some colour plates.
posted by destroying_angel at 1:41 PM on May 26, 2016

Was it one of the editions of the Childcraft series? I had the orange ones but it looks like there were white ones too.
posted by BoscosMom at 11:55 PM on May 26, 2016

No, unfortunately I don't think it was either of those... but these are some great leads. I'll post back if I find it!
posted by amicamentis at 11:50 AM on May 27, 2016

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