Saturday, 30 July 2011

Alison Uttley Country Things

Alison Uttley is one of my favourite countryside writers so when a collection of her books came up for sale I was first in the queue. If you haven’t discovered her books yet, or you haven’t read anything by her for a while I can thoroughly recommend them.

This is from Country Hoard Published in 1943

In the woods were myriads of bluebells, and I ran through them on my way to school, with singing birds and peeping squirrels and bright-hued pheasants my companions. On the way home I gathered bunches for my mother. They grew tall, their bells darkened to a richer blue, their great trusses of flowers curved downward, leaning towards the rich brown soil of the wood.

Every time I read those words I think about the farm where my brother, sister and I grew up. Each spring the woods would be carpeted with bluebells and my sister and I would pick huge bunches to take home to mum. She arranged them with branches from a beech tree that grew in the garden; the lime green of the beech looked wonderful with the blue of the bluebells.

Another of my favourites is

The farm on the Hill published in 1941…

Every window at the farm had its own peculiar magic for Susan. Each was a peep-hole into some enchanted scene, an eye opened upon the real and unreal world. None was homely or common place of dull. Every vista had some strange mysterious content, some secret which might be divulged if Susan were quick to catch it. The dairy window looked out on the water troughs, with the moss-green wall and the filbert trees. If she crept softly up to it she could watch the play of the water from the spring, and the latticed ripples, without the water being aware. She could see the thrush fly down to the trough’s edge to drink, and the squirrel leap in a flurry of red from the filbert trees on to the wall. From the parlour window there were the roses that nodded close by, and the garden with its wicket gate. Sometimes the gate opened, and her mother went in for a bunch of carrots, a stick of celery, a spray of parsley, unaware of the still ghostlike face and the brown eyes gazing down at her. Another window looked out to the yard, and this was indeed secret. It was such a peep-hole that it had a linen blind for protection, to keep the servant lad from peering into the room. It overlooked the dog-kennel, with Roger prowling up and down, and the barn with Dan pitching hay from the loft to the manger, or Joshua chopping sticks in the dimness with the big corn bins behind him and the stone bench by his side. The kitchen window opened to the loveliest view of all, hill and valley, and there Susan could see the grey shapes of rain sweep down the fields, she could catch the ghost of the north wind on its ruffling journey over the grass, or watch the hailstones spring with sudden vehemence out of the winter sky. 

And this from Country things published in 1946

There was the stable, a real house for us in winter, with thick walls and the warm strong smell of horses. The only seat was the “horse-block”, which was smoothed by generations of corduroy trousers to a silky surface. We shut the bottom half of the door, and left the top half wide open, for there was no window. The harness hung on the wall behind us, the everyday collar with one bell, the bridle, the belly-band, and traces slung on wooden pegs. The best sets of harness were of course in the kitchen, with the horse-brasses, and martingale, and pony-trap bells, shining and bright. There was warmth and friendliness in that place, the home of strong, much-loved horses. There was the odour of the life of those intelligent animals whom we loved so deeply. They were part of the family, they knew all about us. The stable was a kind of familiar little house, and a refuge in days of wild winds and storms when I didn’t want to be with human beings. 

There were horses on the farm and my sister was a keen and competent rider.  I was not so keen; I liked the horses well enough but felt intimidated by their size. My sister spent hours in the stables but I preferred the milking parlour where I could watch dad busy with the milking. The dairy cows were gentle creatures with huge eyes and long eyelashes; Daisy (named after grandma Daisy) was my favourite. 

Friday, 29 July 2011

Added Value: Things found in books part four

Welcome back...things found in books...

Blow, wind, blow

Blow, wind, blow, and go, mill, go. That the miller may grind his corn: That the baker may take it, and into bread bake it, and bring us a loaf in the morn.

Postcard illustrated by Margaret W Tarrant. Published by Medici, Nursery Rhymes series, undated. Message reads; Dear Jean, you were a lucky girl to have such a lot of presents on your birthday and to have a party too! I wonder if you will be in England for your next birthday. I expect you will. We all send our love to you . Your loving Auntie Maudie.

Found in Stories from the Arabian nights.
The book and postcard featured here are now sold, thank you for your interest.

If you enjoy old bookmarks a visit to Forgotten Bookmarks is a must

How about you?  What do you use as a bookmark?  Have you ever found a lost bookmark? 

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The Emett Festival Railway a Puffin cut-out book, 1951

The Emett Festival Railway a Puffin cut-out book published in 1951.  Four pages of instructions and twelve thick card pages containing all the sections to be cut-out and built (those wishing to can fit a clockwork motor!) designed to fit standard 00 gauge track. 

This lovely little book came into stock recently, sold this morning, and is now on the way to its new home in France. I had intended to do a blog post about it so took a few quick ‘photos and including them here. As you may have notice I have a passion for anything by Rowland Emett and always look for his books/postcards when I go on buying trips. 

 I can’t begin to imagine how anyone would put this together – but I love the designs!

The Far Tottering and Oystercreek Railway which serves the cloud Cuckoo valley links Far Tottering to the sea at Oyster Creek, calling at Wisteria Halt, Friars Fidgetting, Abbots Grumbling, and Wastecote Fancy. There is a section which is now disused, the Witch-hollow loop, which served Hangdog Heath, Sygian Halt, and Duckwallow Marsh. As nobody ever went there, this branch was abandoned.

More recently a coastal section was extended to Dog-fish Point and Smugglers Reach. The main business is now taking bird watchers to Tottering Woods, hens and pigs to Fidgetting Market, and excursions to see the Paddleboats in Starfish Bay on Saturday afternoons. There are only three engines now in service: Nellie, Neptune, and Wild Goose. 

Nellie is the pride, joy, and bulwark of the F.T. & O. The Directors believe that she incorporates all that is best in railway practice. There is absolutely no nonsense about her. Flying engines, nautical engines and such-like fiddle-faddle, may come and go at the whim of whosoever is the engineer at the moment, but Nellie will always remain the solid bastion upon which is reared, in one form or another, all that is most delightful and desirable in prime movers. 
In an age when the other railways seem to be getting drabber and drabber, the Directors earnestly hope that the example of Nellie will be taken well to heart, and that perhaps there will be a return towards engines which, besides transporting the body, will have something for the eye and mind.  

I know train enthusiasts will probably be horrified but the track and coach sections remind me of scrapbook pages!  

If we have anything in stock by Rowland Emett or from the Festival of Britain and you wish to view you can do so here

"How nice!" said Cruella, going up the steps still holding Lucky

against her cloak. Pongo, Missis and Perdita all barked sharply and Lucky reached up and nipped Cruella's ear. She gave a scream and dropped him. Nanny Butler was quick enough to catch him in her apron.
The Hundred and One Dalmatians Pg. 36
By Dodie Smith with illustrations by Janet and Anne Grahame-Johnstone

The hundred and one dalmatians is now sold, thank you for your interest.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Book of the week - Votes for Catherine Susan and Me

Scarce out-of-print book; Votes for Catharine Susan and me published c1910.  A satirical account of the suffragette movement written and illustrated by Kathleen Ainslie. The story recounts the adventures and imprisonment of two Dutch dolls.

"Catherine Susan and me hadn’t much to do, so when she kept on screaming “COME AND JOIN US” we comed and joined". And she said all men was cruel and wicked and we must have votes and turn them out. So they drew lots who should go and tell them.  Catherine Susan and me drew the shortest straws.

The votes-for-women movement in the UK exploded in popularity in 1903 but the story begins before the reign of Queen Victoria.

In 1832, Lord Grey piloted the highly controversial Great Reform Act through Parliament. It was meant to extend the franchise - but used the word "male" instead of "people", excluding women from the vote. The first leaflet advocating votes for women appeared in 1847, and suffrage societies began to crop up throughout the country. Twenty years later, John Stuart Mill led an unsuccessful attempt to secure votes for women in the Second Reform Act. That defeat led to the founding of the National Society for Women's Suffrage.

The following year Richard Pankhurst, an MP and lawyer, made a fresh attempt to win votes for women. His wife and daughter, Emmeline and Christabel, went on to become the two most important figures in the movement.

On 10 October 1903, the Women's Social and Political Union held its inaugural meeting, and declared that the situation was so serious it would have to pursue extreme measures of civil disobedience. Women began chaining themselves to railings, and within five years the campaign had extended to smashing windows.

Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kennedy were jailed after disrupting a Liberal Party meeting and by 1911 the UK had witnessed the first act of suffragette arson.  Two years later Emily Davison died at the Derby as she rushed out to bring down the King’s horse. Prisons filled with women prepared to go to jail for the right to vote. The civil disobedience continued behind bars, with many women force-fed to prevent them going on hunger strike.

World War I proved to be the turning point of the campaign. In the interest of national unity the suffragettes put their campaign of civil direct action on hold. As men went to the Western Front, women proved how indispensable they were in the fields and armaments factories.

By 1918, no government could resist and the Representation of the Peoples Act allowed women over 30 the right to vote. It would take a further 10 years to abolish the age qualification and put men and women on an equal footing.

Votes for Catharine Susan and Me

By Kathleen Ainslie

View or Purchase Here

A very scarce and beautifully illustrated book.

2013 is the centenary of the death of the only suffragette killed during the campaign for votes for women. Emily Davison was fatally injured when she ran out in front of King George V’s horse during the 1913 Epsom Derby. 

Friday, 22 July 2011

Added Value: Things found in books part three

One of the additional pleasures of buying second-hand books is finding something interesting, sad or funny left behind by a previous owner.  People use all sorts of things as bookmarks (including bookmarks) and then forget about them.  I will be adding a new find each week.


Postcard by Bozz. with pull-down photo strip. Message reads - Here we are in sunny Nice. We left England last Wednesday and have hitch hiked to here where we are staying for three days. We have had a most interesting time and seen many places. The French are most kind and helpful. Sent to Potterne in Wiltshire on the14th June, 1960.

Found in Peter Pan and Wendy illustrated by Mabel Lucie Attwell
Book Sold: thank you for your interest.

L'Auto-Stop Click on links for further information.

If you enjoy old bookmarks a visit to Forgotten Bookmarks is a must

How about you?  What do you use as a bookmark?  Have you ever found a lost bookmark?

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Newly catalogued

I’m busy cataloguing newly arrived stock and thought you might enjoy a sneak preview.

Who can resist Orlando the Marmalade Cat? Not me that’s for sure. Orlando a camping holiday is the first of the Orlando books introducing Orlando, his wife Grace, and their kittens, Blanche, Pansy and Tinkle. Orlando is a gorgeous marmalade cat with gooseberry-green eyes, his wife Grace is a tabby and their three kittens are white, tortoiseshell and black! I've catalogued paperback and hardback editions and a scarce copy of Orlando becomes a doctor. Orlando is now sold, thank you for your interest.
This is a really nice copy of Teddy Tar and Bobby Bun published around 1960. These little books never stay around for long and looking at the colourful illustrations I can see why. Teddy Tar is now sold, thank you for your interest.

The Pookie books by Ivy Wallace are always popular. Pookie is a little white rabbit with wings, who goes to live with a woodcutter's daughter named Belinda. He sleeps in Belinda's red satin lined work basket, and wears little blue overalls. I’ve just catalogued copies of Pookie, Pookie's Big Day and Pookie Puts the World Right. If we have any Pookie books you will find them here
A fair copy of Mr & Mrs Tomnoddy published by Longmans Green in 1934. The covers are not in great condition but the contents are good and as it’s the first copy I’ve seen I decided to include it. Written and illustrated by M.M.B Higham  (Madeline Maud Bellamy) it contains over 300 line drawings and has chapter headings like - a tremendous big wedding-cake, the Tomnoddys buy a dog, that vexatious Mrs. Ponsonby Hobbs, the Tomnoddys on holiday, out with the evergreen Welkins and Mrs. Tomnoddy at Hollywood.  I’m intrigued by the evergreen Welkins and Mrs. Ponsonby Hobbs so must make an effort to read it! 
Mr & Mrs Tomnoddy is now sold, thank you for your interest.

I'm a big fan of Tove Jansson’s Mommin books so was delighted to find first (UK) editions of Moominland Midwinter and The exploits of Momminpappa. I've also catalogued paperback and hardback editions of other’s in the series.   If you would like to read more about Tove Jansson you can do so here
Update February 2014, the featured Moomin books are now sold, but if we have others in stock you will find them here

This picture is from ‘A child’s day’ written by Walter de la Mare first published in 1912 this is a reprint copy from 1915. A book of rhymes all about ‘Elizabeth Ann’ with 24 black and white photographs. A child's day is now sold, thank you for your interest. 

I hope you've enjoyed this quick preview.  If you would like more details of the featured books please click on the links or pop along to our March House Books  website and enjoy a browse.

Do you have fond memories of any of these or other childhood books? I would love to know so please feel free to leave a comment. 

Where the rainbow ends

As the Genie said these words the room suddenly darkened and the carpet rose slowly in the air. Now they were across the room. The children screamed with delight. The wonderful journey had begun.

This copy of Where the rainbow ends by Clifford Mills is now sold, thank you for your interest.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Book of the week - Mrs Bunny's refugee by Angusine Macgregor

A battlefield, a lost boy and a family of rabbits.

Mother Bun and her young family are just sitting down to enjoy their rations, a tin of milk two beautiful red apples and a loaf of bread, when they hear someone crying.

Arming themselves with saucepans they leave their burrow and discover a little boy hiding under a tree.

All the young rabbits are frightened but the kindly Mrs Bun rests her head on the little boy’s lap and he immediately stops crying. Realising he is lost she takes him into her burrow and sets off to find his family.

She hasn't gone far when she hears a loud bang and has to scurry for cover. One of her hind legs is injured so she makes for an old barn where she can hide and tend to her wounds.

As she approaches the barn she hears voices and peeping in she sees a woman and two small children.

Creeping closer she realises they are talking about the little lost boy.

Pausing only long enough to wrap her injured leg she returns to the burrow where the little boy and the rabbits are playing happily.  She gestures for the little boy to follow her and together they set off across the fields to the barn where his family are waiting.

Once reunited the family leave for a place of safety and the rabbits return to their home under the tree.
I love the illustrations in this pretty picture book related by Angusine Macgregor (probably better know as A. J. Macgregor illustrator of several Ladybird books) there are twenty three beautiful colour plates including the frontis and numerous black and white drawings.

This book is now sold thank you for your interest.

Update March 2013; we have just obtained another copy of Mrs. Bunny's refugee, it's a smaller version than the one featured in this post. If you would like to view please click here

Update March 2014; both copies of Mrs. Bunny's Refugee are now sold but we are actively looking for more. If you have one to sell please contact us at March House Books

Friday, 15 July 2011

Added Value: Things found in books part two

One of the additional pleasures of buying second-hand books is finding something interesting, sad or funny left behind by a previous owner.  People use all sorts of things as bookmarks (including bookmarks) and then forget about them.  I will be adding a new find each week.

Let us stick together!

1946 folding calendar with the following poem -
Can I bring you something different, something that will make you glad? For You've had my wishes often, all my special greetings had. But I know no written message can convey such hope and cheer; as the one I'm truly sending - just "God-speed" for all the year.

Let Us Stick Together found in That's Mine the book was given to Alan for attendance at Tugkingmill Sunday School December 1946.

That's mine is now sold, thank you for your interest.

If you enjoy old bookmarks a visit to Forgotten Bookmarks is a must

How about you?  What do you use as a bookmark?  Have you ever found a lost bookmark?

Thursday, 14 July 2011

"Now, my dears," said Orlando the Marmalade Cat

"I have written a list of the things we must take with us, and as I read it out you must collect them and I will pack them in the car." Grace and the kittens did as they were told. When everything was ready, the kittens put on goggles to keep the dust out of their eyes.

Orlando the Marmalade cat a camping holiday Pg. 4
By Kathleen Hale

Orland a camping holiday is now sold, thank you for your interest.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Maypole dancing and pig racing at Beckington village day

Beckington is a pretty village near Frome in the North East of Somerset. If you ever find yourself in the area it is well worth a visit and if you arrive on 'village day' so much the better...

This year's fete held on the 9th July was full of good things...maypole dancing, pig racing, Cheerleading, live music and a dog show all served up with a big helping of strawberries and cream, hot dogs, burgers, cupcakes and homemade lemonade.

The bouncy slide was very popular with the children and I can't have been the only 'grown up' who wanted a go!

Live music, stalls and a beer tent kept the adults amused all day and I think it safe to say that a great time was had by all even when torrential rain threatened to spoil the start.

Well done Beckington! Roll on next year - we'll be first in the car park!

 Beckington Village Home Page

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

A massive thank you to Catherine at Juxtabook her tweet - @MarchHouseBooks for the prettiest book blog in the country – made my day! I'm sure there are far more deserving blogs but I'm delighted, thank you.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Book of the week - Biggity Bantam illustrated by Tasha Tudor

Beautifully illustrated book written by Tom McCready and illustrated by his wife Tasha Tudor (28th August 1915 – 18th June 2008) one of America’s best-known and probably best-loved illustrators.

Biggity was a bantam rooster who got his name by acting very fierce in spite of his small size. He was one of a flock of tiny bantams living in a back yard with lots of other animals. Biggity was often naughty, he escaped constantly, and was always getting into mischief. He lived with the Warner family and was a pet of the Warner children, Bill, Ralph, Helen and Emily.

In reality Mr & Mrs Warner were none other than Tom and Tasha McCready and Bill, Ralph, Helen and Emily were based on  the McCready children.

A cleverly written and beautifully illustrated book that has delighted thousand of young readers – and their parents.

Now out-of-print and difficult to find. The copy we have in stock is in very good condition and complete with the elusive dust jacket.

Biggity Bantam is now sold, thank you for your interest.

My favourite Tasha Tudor book is Adventures of a Beagle. Do you have a favourite? 

Friday, 8 July 2011

Added Value: Things found in books part one

One of the additional pleasures of buying second-hand books is finding something interesting, sad or funny left behind by a previous owner.  People use all sorts of things as bookmarks (including bookmarks) and then forget about them. I will be adding a new find each week.

Happy Cat?

Cat illustration by Dora Royle with bright red stitching added. The picture was cut from another book then placed inside this one for safe keeping. 
Found in the Daily Mail annual for boys and Girls 1952. Click link for further information.

The daily mail annual featured in this post is now sold, we have many other Daily Mail annuals here 

How about you?  What do you use as a bookmark?  Have you ever found a lost bookmark?

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Online Lit Fest

Don’t miss the Awfully Big Blog Adventure this coming weekend, 9/10 July. The first online literary festival organised entirely by children’s authors. The line-up is incredible, with authors popping in every half an hour, tips, book news and giveaways. See full programme at An Awfully Big Blog Adventure


Book of the week - Ladybird Uncle Mac's ABC

Uncle Mac's Ladybird ABC is by far the rarest of the six books in series 455 especially with the original dust wrapper.

The Wee Web places this title in Ladybird's top ten for rarity.

Written by Derek McCulloch (Uncle Mac) and illustrated by Septimus E. Scott.

Originally published in 1950 our copy is a 1951 reprint complete with dust wrapper. 

The clear text in this book is complemented by a series of beautiful colour illustrations

Uncle Mac's ABC is now sold, thank you for your interest.
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