Vintage Reader

The Big Red Bus, Childrens Reader 1955The Bad Red Bus, published in London, 1955
MacMillan & Co Ltd.

I really like children’s readers…they are especially funny to read as an adult, but even as a child I thought that Dick and Jane were…weird. They were strangely dressed children, with stilted speech patterns. Mind you, the parents spoke with a limited vocabulary too:

“Now I must buy a present,” said Father.
“Here is a little horse,” said Ken.
“Pamela could sit on it and we could rock her.”
“Yes, Mother and I will give her that horse. We will take it home with us.” [Gay Days, 1961 p.14]

This was a book that was before my time at school- The Bad Red Bus– but it was on the Australian school syllabus and many people I know read it as a child. Children remember titles with the word “Bad” in them…and boy, was this bus bad!

Unusually for the time, both the author and illustrator were women; not unusually for the time, the story line is very eurocentric and gave Australian children a small glimpse of the animals and customs of England in the 50s.

The Big Red Bus is in good vintage condition, it shows sign of wear to the cover and has been handled by many, many children. It is for sale: $AU15

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Fay and Don

Fay and Don reader, 1953Fay and Don Children’s Reader
Printed in NSW, Australia 1953

I have a passion for children’s readers- and I remember Fay and Don from primary school [must have been an old edition then – I’m a child of the 60s.] I also remember Dick and Jane and managed to collect a copy of that reader- and the infamous Gay Days, which I also have [see post below.]

Even as a child I remember the stilted stories: “See the cat, Fay.” “Yes, Father, I see the cat.” Reading them as an adult is even more hilarious. It was the illustrations that got me in, and the idea that Mother and Father were so important as to warrant a Capital Letter – and that the family seemed to be harmonious. Fay and Don – the daughter and son of the books title – were quite egalitarian and there was no hint of gender disparity. Quite different from the world that I experienced.

It’s interesting the role that nostalgia plays in collecting – I remember this book with such fondness, even while I laugh at it now as an adult.

Fay and Don is in good vintage condition, and is for sale: $AUD35

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