The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Children’s Card Games (233)

July 17th, 2017 · 2 Comments

We have another “Jeu de 7 Familles.” Again, there’s no date or publisher, but it has the same box and back as the last example. This deck is devoted to “Cinema”; you see here the grandmother of the camera operator family. Nice jazzy ’60s art, with simplified figures and bold off-register colors.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Children’s Card Games (232)

July 10th, 2017 · 2 Comments

The “Picture-Word Game” was created by Edward W. Dolch, and published by The Garrard Press in 1941. Each card contained a word and its picture on one side, and just the word on the other. The instruction sheet explains that the cards teach “the 95 nouns which careful study has found to be of widest use in well-known readers.” Two games are suggested: “The Go-Together Game,” in which children classify things that go together; and “The What Is It Game,” in which they compete to read the word sides correctly.

Edward W. Dolch devised many “Learning Games” and educational books. I simply like the blunt simplicity of the drawings.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Illustrated Songbooks (3)

July 3rd, 2017 · 2 Comments

Chansons de France was published in 1928 by Librairie Plon. J. B. Weckerlin arranged the traditional songs, and M. B. de Monvel provided illustrations. The music is set within the pictures, standing out from the delicate colors.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Children’s Card Games (231)

June 28th, 2017 · 2 Comments

“Le jeu de 7 familles” (the game of seven families) is a popular French children’s card game. It never caught on in the US, for some reason. The deck contains seven families, each comprising parents, grandparents, son, and daughter. The objective, naturally, is to collect all six of one family. The decks often have a theme; this one, which I guess is from the ’60s (no date is given) is devoted to aviation: balloon, helicopter, dirigible, rocket, airplane, glider, and parachute. Each family, when reunited, can be fitted together into a sort of frieze. My scanner is too small for all six, but here are the father and mother of the dirigible family.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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That Regrettable Weekend

June 12th, 2017 · No Comments

That Regrettable Weekend contains 20 of my songs, plus the eponymous instrumental. You can find it on Bandcamp.

I play soprano, banjo, and baritone ukuleles; keyboards; Tremoloa; Ukelin; bulbul; xylophone; melodica; bells; psaltery; ocarina; grunt call; trombone; and assorted percussion. And sing, of course. Carol Benner plays viola on three songs.

The tracks are:

Little Flower
Bandwagon
Love Me Unconditionally
Little Two-Headed Kitten
Make a Wish
Buenas Noches, Little Roaches
Notary Publics
Careers
Sentimental Doofus
The Hypnotist’s Birthday
Worthless Little Moments
The Renaissance Faire
Whine
Flake Food
My Face Is in the Sand
If Something Goes Wrong
Film Crew
Agnosticize
I Just Don’t Understand
My Pal Satan
That Regrettable Weekend

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Illustrated Songbooks (2)

May 29th, 2017 · No Comments

The Baby’s Opera, an 1877 offering from Walter Crane, includes both decorated sheet music and full-page illustrations, all at 7 and a half inches square. This is what songbooks should look like!

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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The Cocktail Hour

May 22nd, 2017 · No Comments

The Cocktail Hour is now available! This classic cocktail guide from 1927 contains 224 recipes collected by Marcel Requien, and a running commentary on the proper drink (and etiquette) for every hour of the day by Lucien Farnoux-Reynaud. The bilingual edition from Corps Reviver includes the original French text, an English translation by Doug Skinner and Gaylor Olivier, and 34 new illustrations by Tony Brook.  It’s 256 pages! You can order it here!

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Illustrated Songbooks (1)

May 14th, 2017 · No Comments

The illustrated songbook is an appealing hybrid, now seldom seen, as fewer homes have a piano to stack them on, and fewer people read music. Many of these songbooks were meant for children, although there are plenty of examples for adults.

Here’s one for the nursery: The Most Popular Mother Goose Songs, published by Hinds, Hayden, & Eldredge, New York, 1915. The illustrations are by the busy children’s illustrator Mabel Betsy Hill, not to be confused with the new Zealand painter Mabel Hill (judging by a Googling, some do). Each of its 44 thick pages contains a song with piano accompaniment, printed in blue, set inside a delicately colored illustration. “Kitty White” and “Higgilty Piggilty” are typical examples. (You can, of course, click on them to enlarge them.)

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Memorable Magazines (8): A Wake Newslitter

April 30th, 2017 · No Comments

I like the idea of a magazine devoted to only one book, particularly one that has now become so unpopular. A Wake Newslitter was devoted entirely to Finnegans Wake.

Back in 1964, Joyce buffs across the globe sent in their discoveries to Fritz Senn (in Unterengstringen, Switzerland) and Clive Hart (in Newcastle, Australia). Senn and Hart assembled them into a 16 page bimonthly. There were 18 issues published in 1962 and 1963; a new series began in February, 1964, formally dubbed Volume 1, Volume 1. I don’t know how long it ran; the last issue in my collection is from 1980.

That first (but nineteenth) issue contains: a list of languages, from one of Joyce’s notebooks; a piece on the use of Albanian; a list of Swahili words; an article on the gematria of ALP and HCE; references to the Hebrew alphabet; brief notes on “Tumulty,” “hadding,” and “W.K.O.O”; and notes on the Tetragrammaton and the opening words of the four Gospels. There’s also an intriguing query (from Nathan Halper): “Ellmann (p. 662) quotes Samuel Beckett as saying that once, when he was taking dictation, there was a knock on the door. Joyce said ‘Come in’ and Beckett, hearing these words, put them into the text. When he read this back, Joyce was surprised by the words but, after a moment’s thought, he let them stay in the text. Where is this ‘Come in’?”

The thrill of discovery! The exasperation with Joyce! The impatience with other Joyceans!

In 1971, the Newslitter published a ten-year index, listing the references to each page. Here’s a sample.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Children’s Card Games (230)

April 16th, 2017 · No Comments

The “Fun in Flight Deck” was published by United Airlines, probably in the ’70s. It contains 24 cards containing games to keep children occupied on those long flights. One side of the cards has connect-the-dot pictures, which can also be used to play Rummy or Solitaire; the other side offers a variety of mazes, puzzles, and things to draw. I hope the kids appreciated it.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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