Good Things for Mother’s Day
Submitter: Yes, 1952 & it’s still on the shelves in 2012. My friend said that a senior librarian told her this hadn’t been weeded long ago because “there’s nothing to replace it.” Thank god there isn’t! From the Betty Crocker-esque checked cover and the graphic of the mother with a crown, high collar, and scepter…OMG. (Please see scans of front and back covers.)
Inside is much, much worse. Apparently, Miss Casey loved the idea of Mother’s Day “lively plays and dialogues, recitations, monologues, and exercises.” There’s a publisher’s note on costumes: “the publishers of this book do not handle the crepe paper suggested for the costumes described in various exercises and plays. It may, however, be obtained at the stores of practically all towns of ordinary size throughout the country.” Crepe paper? LOL
The “plays and exercises” themselves carry suggestions for what the cast should look like, and it’s 1950s sterotyping at its worst. There are several female parts that call for “Clessie/Eloise/etc., a plump girl with a pleasant face” (p. 170 is attached so you can see this example, plus the obvious ’50s classism- “good” Irish mothers, WASP mothers & their maids- OMG).
However, the scene that had me and the rest of the Systems department howling in laughter is p. 188 (also attached) – from “When Bunny Forgot”- a dialogue between Bunny (“a girl of eleven or twelve, is plump and pleasant-faced”) and Eloise (“who is about the same age, is slender and pretty and wears a becoming spring suit”): Bunny and Eloise get into a 1950s verbal catfight (look for the words “incapacitated” and “decapitated” in the first two paragraphs of dialogue on this page.
We went around all day yesterday using our best WASPy voices reading from Good Things for Mother’s Day. LOL It’s thankfully been withdrawn from the collection, but after regretfully throwing away a dreadful book of Leonard Nimoy’s 1970s poetry from the last time my friend and I weeded, we’re going to keep this one around for sheer horror and laughs.
Holly: Keep it at your reference desk as an example to patrons who ask why we weed.
Holly: So sorry this didn’t make it up in time for Halloween 2010! Here are some fab ideas for next year, though.
Carving Jack O Lanterns
Submitter: The first book, Carving Jack-O’-Lanterns by Sam Gendusa was published in 1988 and provides multitudes of ways to terrify children. I especially like the picture of the kids standing next to the jack-o-lantern in the grocery store—he looks like he’s going to cry! Also, I love that this book encourages parents to have their children touch the creepy pumpkins in order to overcome their anxieties. Yeesh!
Holly: This is the creepiest jack o lantern book I’ve ever seen! What the heck are those, mutant pumpkins? They’re ginormous! If you have to use a mallet and chisel, it’s no longer a jack o lantern. It’s a statue.
Submitter: I’ve also included a totally rad book on airbrushing (circa 1987) for those who’d like to add a little neon to their Halloween costume, or at least learn to airbrush Terminator-style.
Miller and Effler
Holly: Now this is cool! I really like this idea. Have airbrushing techniques changed since 1987? Maybe not. Ok, maybe it could be updated with ways to airbrush 2010 characters, like Snooki’s tan or something, but otherwise, not such a bad book. A nice pairing with the creepola pumpkins above, though!
Holidays and Festivals: New Year
Anonymous Submitter: “Every single picture in this book is better than the cover picture. Worse yet, there is no mention of clown skiing anywhere in the text. Everyone at work let out a little sound of terror when viewing the clowns. I had to turn the cover upside down to write this email.”
Holly: Mary, avert your eyes. (She has a bit of a clown phobia. Her new co-worker left a severed clown head on her desk recently, which I LOVE!) What do these clowns have to do with New Year? What if someone new to the U.S. picked up this book to find out how Americans celebrate the New Year, and then showed up to a party decked out like a clown?