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Friday Fiction – Silver Spurs

Silver Spurs coverKnigge
Silver Spurs

Submitter: I am a public children’s librarian and started at this library in January. Before I started, this library never weeded ever. I thought I had gone through the whole collection until the holiday books came out. That’s when I noticed Silver Spurs.  Published in in 1973, this book hasn’t circed at my library since the ‘80s, possibly the ‘70s. I can’t be sure since it last time circed before the electronic catalog was implemented in 1993. I do know, however, that it circed a total of 4 times.  The story is cute enough: the tiniest of elves helps Santa solve his dilemma of entering narrow chimneys. The book, though, was so old that it is yellowing and grimy, despite only 4 circs. The things that made Silver Spurs stand out from the other yellowing, grimy Christmas picture books was its record insert. That’s right: this book comes with a record. Remember those?

Holly: I think I might have had this when I was a kid.  It looks really familiar, and I was a big fan of books that came with records back then.  Anything yellowing and grimy has to go, and unless you have a whole “vintage” collection of books with records, just one looks like a forgotten mistake (which is was!).  Good catch, Submitter!

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Good Things for Mother’s Day

Good Things for Mothers Day - cover

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.

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