Welcome to Old Children's Books, selling children's literature and picture books online since 1994. We stock more than 10,000 scarce, collectible and out-of-print books, for readers, teachers and collectors.
Very few of our books have bindings loose enough to allow the book to open flat on a table. As in this photo, in most of our illustration photos, the covers have been propped up so that the book is actually opened at an angle, (supported by two bronze Treasure Island Bookends!) To take the spine and top edge photos, the book is propped on a bookend at a slant, which makes some books look splayed when they are not.
In some photos, page corners may be gently held down using a blue suede bookweight from Levenger's. , shown with contoured side up to avoid shadows. The contoured side keeps weight from being put on the gutter and spine if you place it horizontally; the flat side, which I sometimes use, looks nicer.
Our earlier jpgs were much too dark: if you have a question about the colour of the paper, trust the words in the Condition description or Contact Us.
Reading book listings.
Our hope is that you will be pleasantly surprised with the book's condition when it arrives and will have had adequate information about the publication and binding.
On our online listings we now avoid bookseller abbreviations and label the sections of our listings to make them easier for new buyers and for foreign readers to understand, but you will still see them in our written catalogue.
On recent listings we also follow current internet practice of stating "no names, clean, straight" etc. These qualities used to be assumed unless flaws to the contrary were mentioned. Following this new practice makes the listings longer and less accurate. However, whether or not we have stated "straight" and "unmarked", you can trust that any deviations from the standards below are mentioned. In general, you may rely on the AB condition grade for positive points, see below.
* All books are catalogued by the original the last name of the author, or failing an author, the editor or "anon", They are never catalogued by the rewriter, genre, or illustrator. Authors of record are: Aesop, Grimm, La Fontaine, Mother Goose, Carroll, Lewis, ABC, Bible (biblical text only)
* We use common pen names, such as Marianna, Mark Twain and Louis Carroll. True names accompany pen names in search results.
* Biographies of authors appear under both the author's name and the writer's name in the author field. Example: (Carroll, Lewis) Richardson, Joanna. All other biographies have the writer's name in the author field, so you would search the title or category for the subject of the biography.
* Names of American authors beginning with "de", "van", etc. (van Loon) are listed as such, but are best searched by the main word in the name (Loon). European authors are listed thus: Brunhoff, Jean de. We attempt to list the first and last names of Asian authors in correct order, but either will appear on the search.
* On our Advanced Search, unlike most, you may search specifically for the Illustrator. Books of illustrators who illustrated their own books must currently be searched by Author, because only their initials appear in the illustrator field "Blueberries for Sal" by Robert McCloskey/RMcC illustrator.
* In our search results, the illustrator is listed after the slash /. Example: Treece, Henry/Charles Keeping indicates a book written by Henry Treece and illustrated by Charles Keeping. Initials after the / indicate that the book is illustrated by the author. Example: Hughes, Shirley/SH indicates a book written and illustrated by Shirley Hughes.
Publishing Data (Includes Binding):
* Place of publication.
* The full name of the publisher appears on all our newer listing, with addresses and printers for earlier books.
* Date of publication/date of copyright: We use standard format: 1932/1920 indicates a 1932 printing of a book first published in 1920; 1932,
* If a printing is not indicated, the copyright date will appear in parentheses (1932). If the original date of publication/copyright is not stated but is known from another source, that date will appear in brackets .
* "1st indicates a first printing of the first edition". "1st US" indicates the first American printing of a book previously published in another country. "1st thus illustrated" indicates the first printing of the book with work by a particular, usually well-known, illustrator.
* The name of the translator, if possible, and the original language of publication.
* Any editorial contributions.
* Plates; "18 plates as issued" means that you can rely on the fact that I have checked for the correct number of plates for this edition and have counted each one within the copy of the book in hand.
* Description of the dustjacket artwork. (The clipped or unclipped state of the jacket and the original selling price can be found at the end of the Condition Description.)
* Binding; size of book in inches, width x height; many foreign language books in cms.
* Number of pages (or n.p., for not paginated). We will collate books on request.
* Additional matter, such as an index, Table of Illustrations, or with 19th century books, a publisher's catalogue.
* The comments section contains brief plot summaries and observations. (It is not really a blurb!) It is searched by the Keyword field.
Signed or Inscribed:
* Signed means just the author's name appears.
* Inscribed indicates a message or note accompanies the signature.
* Briefly Inscribed means a short note such as, "To Tom and Joan from Bill Shakespeare."
* We list Caldecott and Newbery Award Books, Honor Books and other books that have major national and international awards.
* The Hans Christian Andersen Awards for lifetime work as well as the Bader Numbers, plate numbers from American Picturebooks, by Barbara Bader, can be searched using the "keyword" category, but will not necessarily appear with every book.
Condition grades and descriptions:
The best way to judge our condition grading is to read through the Condition Descriptions of two or three books and then look at the Condition jpgs of those books in the largest view. Rather than selecting flaws to photograph, we provide jpgs of the entire jacket: just click on the Condition picture to enlarge.
At this point, most of our books have been described for online listings "Very Good without jacket" etc. Our catalogues adhere to traditional condition descriptions, the book itself is described first, the jacket is described after the slash. VG/G indicates a Very Good book in a Good jacket. V/O means that we are sure the book was issued with a jacket and that jacket is not present. Books have been published with protective jackets since the mid 1800's, but we indicate a missing jacket with /0 only on modern books, approximately from 1922+, depending on book design.
* F= Fine. Completely clean without tears or wrinkles, only differing from As New by its age and its having been opened. Since we have very few recently published books, we do not use As New as a grade, just as a comment.
* NF= Near Fine. Some minute defect of interest to collectors only, i.e., very light rubbing on a corner, not specified when doing so would only cause confusion.
* VG+ = Very Good Plus. My rule of thumb is, more than two very minor flaws and the book becomes Very Good. Flaws are noted. For instance, "light foxing topedge, attractive woodcut bookplate"; this book would be marked VG+ and would be otherwise a fine copy)
* VG= Very Good condition. Often unmarked, no tears, but signs of having been read. VG books may have an owner's name, light edgewear and tiny bumps to corners or spine ends or minor wrinkles, all specified. A dust jacket may have minor edge tears or chips and rubbing on spine ends if it is clean and bright.
* G=Good condition. Not broken, any major tears are specified. May have name, soil, wrinkles, hinges starting, bumped and worn corners, edges, and spine ends, or some combination thereof. Jacket may have edge tears, chips, rubbing, soil, with any major flaws specified. Jacket chips, which cause fading on the book, are less desirable than a neat closed tear, for which reason we may state "little loss of paper." We use G+ and G -
* We also have Fair, Poor and Reading Copy books. We stock very few books graded Fair or less, although some books have Fair jackets. Jacket remnants are mentioned but are not calculated into the book's price. A jacket with huge chunks missing or a detached section is a remnant, no matter what you may read to the contrary online.
* Disbound or Binding Copy: Occasionally we will find a book in very nice condition which has become completely separated from its binding. I try to stay away from "otherwise" unless the contrast is dramatic. For example: Disbound, otherwise as new with sharp corners and no rubs.
* We mentioned whether the jacket flap is clipped or unclipped, and if unclipped, we note the price at the end of the condition description "unclipped 2.95." Often a jacket has two prices, one on each corner, the library price and the trade price. The publisher will clip the corner with the incorrect price. If the correct price for the copy is present, we consider it "unclipped".
* Book Clubs, Remainders and ex-library books do not have permanent collectible value, although some early Junior Literary Guilds are collected for their American jackets (Ransome). We mark the latter clearly in our descriptions and price accordingly.
Condition of Ex-library Books:
We comment on the degree of "ex-librariness" using the following descriptors: few marks, some marks, usual marks, and heavy marks, although there are so many variables that this just gives a general idea of what to expect. We no longer purchase ex-libraries, so these are ones which were carefully selected when better copies were available, in most cases ones with clean title pages, tactful discard stamps, and no pasted-down flaps. Most ex-library books do have tape stains on the boards and library stamps on the edges, which are not mentioned. Please look in our Bargain Basement Books for some clean ex-libraries under $4 not listed on our database or anywhere else on the net.
As a rule, ex-libraries in our database stock do not have jpgs. Once we have photographed all our collectible stock, this will be a good guide to the edition/condition of the book.
All non ex-library books with jackets are covered with new clear polyester jacket protectors (most of them of archival quality). On all but rare books we mend jacket tears, using small pieces of acid free document repair tape. Early collectible books are protected with stiff, transparent archival mylar covers.
* nd= no date of publication given
* c.1965=copyright 1965
* (1965)= published 1965.
* ep= endpaper
* fep= front ep
* ffep= free front endpaper
* rep= rear ep
* tp= title page
* 112p or 112 pp= 122 pages
* n.p.= not paginated, no page numbers
* pict lib bind= pictorial lib binding
* sl= slightly
* dw= dust wrapper= dj= dust jacket