Sunday, November 4, 2012

11 Goofy, Creepy, Strange, Disturbing And/Or Mildly Unsettling Vintage Books For Young'uns

I love searching for and collecting vintage books. There are some gems out there. But there are also some books that are a little kooky. Maybe it's just that they haven't aged well. Or maybe they were always a little off. Or perhaps it's the illustrations -- the book is fine, but the drawings are cringeworthy.

Below are 11 books I've stumbled upon while perusing my relatives' bookshelves, Powell's, and our church's basement library. For one reason or another, they all tickled my funnybone, and so I now bring them to you. I'm not saying any of these books is bad, or poorly written. Heck, they might be wonderful and have many fans. But for whatever reason, they made me laugh or cringe.

Annnd off we go.

* * * * *
The Trouble With Jeanie

From the cover of this book, you'd guess it's some kind of wilderness or western adventure. I mean, you've got a horse, a bear, a kid in a cowboy hat, a guy with... a... well, some kind of pokey weapon....

But it's so much more than that. Why, it focuses on one of the most important topics ever to be discussed in a book for young people. Death? Noooo. Divorce? Ha! Teen pregnancy? Forget it! Give up? Read on:

Coming to grips with GOING STEADY.

Also, bears.

* * * * *
The Open Door

Oh, an open door! A friendly neighbor stopping to visit a sick girl! Yeees, but....

 She left the front door open always. For twelve months. So that anyone wishing to visit COULD COME STRAIGHT IN.

Also known as Child Endangerment: The Novel.

* * * * *

Well, if that sadistic clown doesn't send you running, the contents will. Did kids really used to play these games? For, like, fun? Jumping The Candles, for instance?

Wow, not only a safety hazard, but guaranteed to predict the date of your nuptials! There's something kind of ironic about the whole thing.

Oh, but there's more...

Hobo: a word guaranteed to make any second grader snicker.

But in case hobos are a little too dark for you, you can always try...

For added fun, just throw about a dozen dolls up on the roof and send the party-goers up to retrieve them. 

Whoahoho, only kidding, there, Poll.

* * * * *
A Book Of Finger Plays

The hannnd. The hand that looks like it has miniature animal heads growing out of each and every digit. I don't think the illustrator intended for it to look quite so horrific, but I stand alarmed.

* * * * *
Ten Of A Kind

Ten of a kind. I wonder what this could be about? I'll read the dustjacket to learn a little about it!

 And by a "little" I guess I meant "every single plot detail AS WELL AS an explanation of all the morality lessons presented therein, carefully designed and implanted with the intent of scaring you right out of your sinful boots, you heathen child, and meanwhile encourage you and, for what it's worth, entertain you, sort of kind of."

* * * * *
Anne Of Avonlea: 1970's Cover

Gotta love a cover photo that's less "Hello, my name's Anne, Anne spelt with an e" and more, "Hey, man, I'm Anne with an e, can you dig it?" 

Really not groovy, man.

* * * * *
Various Raggedy Ann Books


Awww, Raggedy Ann and Andy, symbols of childhood and-- 

wait, what the--


You know, I'd always had a kind of favorable notion of Raggedy Ann and Andy. But after reading a few pages of these books, I'm a little disturbed. Gilly Imp? Bugaboo? Grampy Hoppytoad? -- and THIS?

Then there are the plots. In one scene, Raggedy Andy has been beaten upside his fluffy skull:

 "Is that cotton sticking out of Raggedy Andy's head, truly?" the little fat man asked.

"Yes, it is," Raggedy Ann replied. "And you will have to take him home and sew him up."

"Aha!" Dinkie laughed. "I shall take him home all right, but I shall take all the cotton out of Raggedy Andy and use it for the mattress I am making for my bed!"

 Riiiight. Okayyyy. *slowly backs away*

* * * * *
Wooden Willie

Brought to you by the original author of the Raggedy Ann books. And... yeah.

* * * * *
Teen-Age Glamor
circa 1950s

 "Always your legs are kept non-fuzzy, and for this there are many depilatories in the stores with which you can experiment. Pumice paper is used when the hair growth is light, but the quickest and easiest way is shaving cream and a razor."

A razor? Wow! (*throws out the industrial-grade sandpaper*)

* * * * *

 Aw, sweet little kittycats...


* * * * *
 And my favorite creepy book of all time...

The Lonely Dolls Learns a Lesson

What you're looking at is a children's book in which a teddy bear sneaks up on the title character and snips off her tresses... out of revenge. I can't remember what the doll did to offend the bear -- perhaps she denied him affection -- but this is what came of it. And she learned a lesson... which you'd think would be do not trust that dang bear, but you'd be wrong.

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