Friday, 31 July 2015


Rosie our much-loved Cairn terrier died on the 31st July, 2009. Friends and customers got to know Rosie very well while she was alive. I often mentioned her on the March House Books Website and included a photograph or two from time to time. Now that March House Books is closed, I need to move the photographs, and I can’t think of a better place for them than here on my blog. I know many of you are dog lovers, so I'm sure you will enjoy the photographs. If you are more interested in books than dogs, please look away, there are lots of other pages waiting to be explored...

Thank you to everyone who is reading this, your visit to my blog is truly appreciated. Barbara.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Guest Post by Marcia Strykowski

Hi! It is my pleasure to do a guest post for this amazing blog. I've long enjoyed seeing the many March House vintage and antique books posts and would love to share a few books from my own collection.

I've always lived in New England and from the time I was small, I've had a special connection with books. I like the look, feel, and smell of them, as much as the stories they hold.

Years ago, in the next town over from us, there was a used book shop. I remember what a treat it was to dig through the old books with hopes of finding an extraordinary story to bring home. If the book was in good condition with all its pages intact—all the better.

One gold-star day I found a whole series of classics (Hans Brinker, Pinocchio, etc.) for a grand total of $2 (25 cents each). I still have that set of blue books to this day. Other books from those special shopping trips are shown here.

I guess it makes sense that I grew up wanting to write my own stories. Eventually I did just that. Using vivid memories from my childhood of where my grandparents lived on the coast of Maine, I created Port Wells. My main character, thirteen-year-old Amy, lives in this tiny fishing village during 1973. 

In 2014, Call Me Amy was selected for Bank Street College of Education’s prestigious list of best books for children. Amy’s Choice, the sequel to Call Me Amy, was published soon after. These clean tween novels are great for all ages and feature an adorable seal pup among their cast.

To find out more about my books, please join me on
Thank you, and many thanks to Barbara for her inspiration and dedication to children’s books!

Thank you so much Marcia.  I understand why you treasure the Laura Lee Hope books apart from anything else the covers are beautiful. Five Little Peppers is completely new to me.  Thank you for sharing all the Images and for telling us about the Amy books.

Please call in at if you have the time, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.  

If you would like to guest post on this blog, please send me a note via the ‘email me’ button on the right. 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Onwards and Upwards

My goodness the last two weeks have simply flown past. Books and ephemeral items are selling at such a rate I’m having trouble keeping up. Thank you to everyone for the numerous messages of support and love. Thank you for the orders, the cards and the sweet words.  I thought March House Books would be missed by a few people now I know it will be missed by many.  The doors will be closing for good on the 31st July 2015, so if there is something you want don't delay.

I visited the flea market at the Bath and West showground today and came home with these. 

I promised Terry I would look and not buy but how could I resist these treasures? Some will go into my collection (how could I sell the Muffin the Mule Christmas card?) and others will be listed on eBay.  I might keep a couple of the Little Grey Rabbit books too. 

Last weekend we visited the annual St. John's Church Fete at Milborne Port

One of the most popular attractions was the 'human fruit machine' 

The book stall was doing a brisk trade
According to the local paper, over 200 people attended and between them raised more than £2,000 towards the upkeep of the church. Pretty impressive considering the fete was competing with Yeovilton air Day and Wimbledon. 

I'm toying with the idea of modifying/changing the name of my blog.  My cousin John came up with March of Time Books which I really like but what do you think?

I read a great quote on Facebook a couple of days ago... If a door closes, open it, that’s what doors are for!

Have a wonderful week  

Friday, 10 July 2015

Ivy Wallace and Pookie The Little White Rabbit with Wings

Pookie is no ordinary rabbit. Pookie is a little white rabbit with wings! These are not beautiful wings just two crumpled wispy wings and because of them, Pookie is scolded and laughed at. At length, he becomes so lonely and miserable he decides to leave his home and seek his fortune in the big wide world. After packing his belongings in his best handkerchief, he sets off in search of a better life. After many adventures, the little rabbit finds Belinda, the woodcutter's daughter and discovers the love of a true friend. Pookie is now the happiest, most beautiful rabbit-with-wings in the whole world.

Ivy Lillian Wallace was born in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, on the 7th October 1915. Her father was a keen amateur botanist who taught his daughter the need for accuracy in her drawings of plants, and these drawings later became a central part of her Pookie books. It was assumed by Ivy’s friends and family that she would become a full-time artist. But, to the surprise of everyone who knew her, she applied for work at Felixstowe Rep and later appeared on stage with Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson.  

At the outbreak of the Second World War, she was chosen by The British Film Company to appear in Government training films. She went on to do war work in a police station, and it was while manning a police switchboard that she doodled a picture of a fairy sitting on a toadstool with a little rabbit in front. She then decided that fairies were "two a penny" and so rubbed out the fairy and gave the rabbit wings. After naming the rabbit Pookie, she wrote a story about him: This is the story of Pookie, a little white furry rabbit, with soft, floppity ears, big blue eyes and the most lovable rabbit smile in the world. So confident was she that in 1946 Ivy took a train from Grimsby to London and arrived at the offices of the publishers Collins without a prior appointment. However, the response was less than encouraging, and she returned home crestfallen, leaving her manuscript and illustrations behind.

A few weeks later she was contacted by William Hope Collins and asked to attend the Glasgow office where the Children's book section was based. Not only did William accept the book he also fell in love with its author. Their relationship met with strong disapproval because William was married with children. However, in 1950, Ivy and William were married and went to live near Biggar in the Scottish borders. During the 1950s and 1960s, Ivy's books became a publishing phenomenon. The stories were translated into several languages, and Pookie clubs were formed in places as far afield as Australia, Canada and South Africa. The stories were broadcast on Australian radio in Pookie's Half-Hour and the 'little rabbit with wings' became so popular that thousands of children attended Pookie rallies.  

Altogether, Ivy Wallace wrote nine Pookie books and seven Animal Shelf books but after her husband's death in 1967, she lost interest in writing, and her books went out of print. She continued to receive letters from fans asking her to revive the Pookie series and in 1994, she and her two daughters founded their own small publishing company and reissued the books. 80,000 copies were sold within three years, and the Animal Shelf series was made into a thirteen part animated series and screened on television.  In 1997, Ivy Wallace was the subject of a documentary on BBC Scotland, and an exhibition of her drawings was held in Glasgow during that same year. Ivy Wallace died at the age of 90 on the 13th March 2006.

Pookie Series
(1946) Pookie
(1947) Pookie and the gypsies
(1949) Pookie puts the world right
(1951) Pookie in search of a home
(1953) Pookie believes in Santa Claus
(1956) Pookie at the seaside
(1958) Pookie's big day
(1961) Pookie and the swallows
(1963) Pookie in Wonderland
(1966) Pookie and his shop

(1948) The animal shelf
(1948) Kinker visits the animal shelf
(1948) Woeful and the waspberries
(1948) Getup Crusoe
(1949) The huge adventure of Little Mut
(1949) Gumpa and the paint box
(1951) The treasure hunt

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

All Change Here ...

I've made a decision – quite a big decision as it happens, and I wanted you to be the first to know.  (Drum roll...)  I’m retiring BUT let me just elaborate a little. Books and I are inseparable and will never retire from one another completely, but I am, reluctantly, closing March House Books.  Everything is reduced by 65% at the moment so there has never been a better time to buy.  

One of the big influences behind my decision is my health, which has been a little wearying of late. I’ve been undergoing all kinds of treatments for Osteoporosis (brittle bones). When it was first diagnosed nine years ago I was put on a course of medication followed by yearly infusions at the hospital but with no discernible improvement. As I write this, I’m several months into a new regime of daily injections, plus walking, Pilates and Tai Chi. I would like to say I’m enjoying it all, but that would be a slight exaggeration.  I do enjoy the walking and the Pilates. I'm not so sure about the Tai Chi, and the injections are something else altogether!!  But the biggest drawback is the time it all takes, time I used to spend buying and listing wonderful vintage stock.  I've always been happy and proud of March House Books, and I want to close it on a high.

I started this post by saying I would never retire from books, and that is perfectly true – I will continue to collect, buy and sell books, but my new marketplace will be eBay. Just making that simple change will save all the costs associated with PCI compliance, credit card processing, business insurance, ridiculously high bank charges and all the other things that go hand in hand with running a business. Another plus for eBay is I can do just as much or as little as I want without the constant pressure of finding new stock.

This blog will continue but in a slightly different form.  I hope to make it a space for collectors with posts about books old and new and other interesting things. If you would like to contribute a post about a hobby or a collection, a favourite book, or your latest venture please let me know.

If you are still reading this – and I wouldn't blame you if you gave up several paragraphs ago – I would like to thank you all for your friendship and support.  I will still be here and I will still be visiting all your blogs. I may not post every week but you can be sure I will be posting as often as I can. 

Now for the good news - our lovely Australian family are visiting us for six weeks over the Christmas and New Year period! We are so excited and can’t wait to see them.  We have several outings and trips planned, and I will enjoy sharing them with you in 2016.

Thanks to everyone for the comments left on this post, I will be along to answer them just as soon as I can.  The sale is going far better than I ever expected so I am pretty busy at the moment.


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Thursday, 2 July 2015

The Telegraph Bath Children’s Literature Festival is back!

There has never been a better time to visit the beautiful and unique city of Bath! The Festival runs from Friday 25 September – Sunday 4 October 2015.

Julia Donaldson, Cressida Cowell, Jacqueline Wilson,
Michael Rosen, Judith Kerr, Francesca Simon, Axel Scheffler,
Frank Cottrell Boyce, Floella Benjamin, Julian Clary,
Helen Skelton, Sam & Mark, Andy Day
and new Waterstones 2015-2017 Children’s Laureate
Chris Riddell

The Telegraph Bath Children’s Literature Festival, the largest dedicated children’s book festival in the UK, is now in its 9th spectacular year.  This is a festival bursting at the seams with vibrant activity for children of all ages, their families and friends.

Bath Festivals brings leading international performers, writers and thinkers to Bath every year to inspire, entertain and challenge audiences of all ages and artistic tastes.  The festivals champion diversity and collaboration, open people's minds, and showcase the work of both established and up-and-coming performers, all in the special setting that is Bath: a World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. 

The full programme is available to view online at

Have fun!

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