Saturday, February 10, 2007

Mom goes off to play, or the Thrift of it All

Mama Squirrel's idea of a fun afternoon out is taking the bus downtown to sort through the bookshelves at her favourite thrift shop. Even if it's bitter cold outside...or maybe because it's been bitter cold and it's been too hard to get out much this week, even for furry squirrels. So an afternoon of shopping was welcome...and worth it, especially because she hasn't been able to get down to this shop since before Christmas.

Mama Squirrel arrived at the thrift shop with good intentions, fueled by pretty blogs filled with vintage gingham, ladies' hats, and other imaginative decor. She dutifully trekked around the housewares but saw nothing much besides old zippers and sad-looking picture frames. The half-price deal was all on men's suits, which we don't need. So she quickly found herself in her usual back corner, happily flipping through an unusually large selection of childrens' books.

For $4.50, she brought home an armload of 18 books.  Even with bus fare, that's a pretty good deal; and it's entertainment too.

Mama Squirrel has a couple of sort-of collections going, and the Piece de Resistance of this trip was an addition to the Eleanor Farjeon/Edward Ardizzone collection: The Old Nurse's Stocking Basket (for a quarter!).  That in itself was enough to cheer up a winter day.

The other collection is strictly for fun and nostalgia: a bunch of vintage Scholastic paperbacks from the '60's and '70's. They were the staples of school libraries and classroom bookshelves, and if you follow the lost book requests at Stump the Bookseller, a lot of them are very well remembered (or not-so-well remembered). Those were the days when Scholastic Book Services published a lot of their very own semi-classic titles: everything from the Mushroom Planet books to Norman Bridwell's A Tiny Family (that's one we don't have, though) and John Peterson's The Secret Hideout, to biographies of Harriet Tubman and Marco Polo, and The Ghost of Dibble Hollow (a childhood memory of Mr. Fixit). And The Secret Language (do you remember ickenspick and leebossa?).

Anyway, we added a few to that collection today too: Casey, the Utterly Impossible Horse (do you remember that one?); The Three Dollar Mule, by Clyde Robert Bulla; and two of the above-mentioned Secret Hideout books. Oh, and a biography of Johnny Appleseed. They're fun and they can be good, non-intimidating reading practice for the eight-to-ten-year-old set.

Especially when you get them for a quarter.

And Mama Squirrel filled out the bag with a fat hardcover of the Peterkin Papers (I was pretty sure our paperback was missing some of the stories), King of the Wind, three 1950's science-made-fun books, a couple of colouring and puzzle books, Child of China, and Paddington Marches On.

Oops--no doilies today. I really did try. But I guess my lower nature just took over.


Anonymous said...

Oh, the Secret Language was a good one. I had forgotten all about it until you wrote "leebossa."

Glad you had a fun outing!

Anonymous said...

You totally rescued me, or rather Mr. Fixit did. I remembered a ghost story from childhood dimly, but I could never dredge up the title and I've never seen it anywhere else. Thank you thankyouthankyou. The Ghost of Dibble Hollow. I am off to Amazon to find a copy.
It's sort of like Andrew Henry's Meadow for me. A personal classic.
Thanks Mr. Fix it!!

Mama Squirrel said...

Glad it helped--but it's a hard one to find, we just got lucky.