What is Cancer, Anyway?

What is Cancer, Anyway?: Explaining Cancer to Children of All Ages
Carney
1999

Submitter: This book, designed to help children cope with cancer, is more confusing and just plain weird than anything I’ve seen in a long time. Also, WTF is up with that entity on the cover? It is blonde child with a skin condition? Is it a dog in a wig? Why is it wearing mascara?!

Holly: I don’t find the text in the excerpts pictured below to be particularly child-friendly. The vocabulary is pretty sophisticated. And yeah – weird anthropomorphism. When they’re too human it’s creepy, not cute.

complete guide for the working mother

A step in the right direction?

The Complete Guide for the Working Mother
Albrecht
1967

This book is handy for all those women with money, household help, resources, etc. Even for 1967, this book is out of touch. Even though it probably only applies to less than 1% of working mothers, it does assert that household chores are not the sole responsibility of the mother and that parenting is a family responsibility. I think the author is trying hard to talk about some equality and parenting issues, but not quite ready to take it up a notch. Given the 1967 publication date, that is hardly surprising.

The does say that women can put themselves first. It also advocates for women to take finances seriously. A nice thought, but hardly a real option to lower income mothers. Again, like most of the books about working mothers, there is an assumption of resources, such as hired help, money and time for vacations, etc. Wage inequalities are not addressed. Forget about even mentioning people of color. Maybe this book would work for some upscale suburban consciousness raising group or maybe a book club in the late 1960s, but hardly anywhere else.

beauty and hair fashions

Break out the Aqua Net!

Beauty and Hair Fashions
Richardson
1968

Relive the 1960s with some seriously interesting hair styles. The book is pretty low substance and the pencil drawings that illustrate the styles barely qualify as illustrations, not to mention look a bit creepy. For the most part, this book is really a bunch of promotions wrapped up with some hair styles.

If you are of a certain age, you might remember those days when you shellacked your hair into place. (Aqua Net and Dippity-Do were the tools of the time.) My mother sported a bouffant style from the late 1960s through most of the 1970s. A once a week hair appointment required hair rollers, sitting under a bonnet hair drier, and having her hair teased into submission. Every night she would carefully wrap that hair in toilet paper to hold the style in place. She integrated some wigs and hair pieces into her life because the work required to maintain a style like that was way too much.

Best Way in the World for a Woman to make money

Women’s Work

The Best Way in the World for a Woman to Make Money
King
1979

This is one of those relics from the 1970s giving women some career advice. This time it is for a sales career. The book’s general premise is that a sales career can give women a serious leg up financially,  and that women do better than their male counterparts. He asserts that women are more talented and intelligent that then men competing for the same jobs. Basically, the author believes that women are an untapped and overlooked resource. Women are supposedly more sociable, nurturing, and better suited to a people oriented career.

There is advice about presenting a more masculine resume. Supposedly, if you have a hobby like woodworking, it shows that you can comfortably deal with a man’s world. Typical of career books for women, there is advice about office decorum, dress, business lunch, etc.

greenhouse gardening book

Get yourself a greenhouse

Sunset
Greenhouse Gardening
Sunset
1987

Quite a few Sunset books have made an appearance here on ALB. (Pop Sunset into the search box for our site and see for yourself.) These books have been around forever. They are usually home and garden topics. The cookbooks from the 60s and 70s are something to behold.

For a library collection, I think these books have a place. They are recognizable and the titles are extremely helpful in describing the book. The actual quality varies from book to book. I think they are geared to the DIY crowd.

The first half of the book is about building a greenhouse. I actually liked some of the options. The second half is more gardening advice. Hydroponics and specialty plants like orchids, African violets, succulents, and cacti are discussed within the context of a greenhouse. Not bad.

cookie craft book cover

Decorative Eats

Cookie Craft
No-Bake Designs for Edible Party Decorations and Favors
Williams and Williams
1977

I am not a big fan of when food looks like something that isn’t food. I can appreciate some of the artistry, but no for a snack. This book is more about using common store bought cookies or crackers to be some of the foundations. Not a bad idea. In fact, I had a pastry chef do a cupcake decorating programs for some teens and the ideas were similar. The kids started with a plain cupcake and used candy, fruit roll-ups, and other products to make some really cute cupcakes. The teens loved the class.

This book probably does a pretty decent job for what was available in the 1970s. The black and white pictures and cookie/cracker choice don’t sound that appetizing. The chef I had do the class was miles ahead of this book, because the creations were actually delicious. Yes, the “art” is edible, but I don’t think that was the point. This was more about food as decoration rather than for eating.

cat crafts book cover

Crafty Cats

Cat Crafts
Hendry
2002

Did someone say “cats”?

This wasn’t too bad or too great either.The book is marketed to youth, but I think some of these projects require too much stuff and/or too much skill. When I was in youth land, there would be that craft that was supposedly for the kids, but the parents ended up doing the whole thing. So as a library program idea, it’s not going to get anyone particularly excited but I also have seen the right librarian doctoring up a okay craft into something spectacular.

Quick aside: As a person who has done both adult and youth librarianship, the level of skill, creativity, and the ability the youth librarians out there bring to the table is impressive. Adult services is easy, comparatively speaking. Kids always ask questions that constantly stump me. My colleagues at all the libraries where I have worked are amazing and so creative. The business nerd in me also thinks these are the people to develop into library management. Anyway, back to our regular show…