Alphabetical Baby Care

baby and child care

The Modern Encyclopedia of Baby and Child Care
From Prenatal Care to Adolescence
Vol. 6

Another find from my Swedish Death Cleaning project

I was in first grade or kindergarten when this was published, so I am pretty sure this wasn’t a book I picked up. I am guessing it was from my mother’s death cleaning and since she can’t abide waste, it probably ended up in a pile of stuff she gave me. For clarity, during my mother’s death cleaning she would shove random boxes of stuff into our hands any time she saw us in person. It was always a surprise.

What is interesting is that this is a book from an encyclopedia set so it only covers topics starting with Le through Nu. I wonder what happened to the rest of the books. I probably should check with my sisters and cousins. I am sure they have their own special boxes of random stuff.

Obviously this is too old, and of course the encyclopedia structure is just dumb. I can’t imagine anyone wanting a set of 10 of these books. Remember, this is child care, so why is there an entry on menopause? Did they not have enough topics that start with the letter “M”?

As a librarian, I am fond of alphabetical order, but this is ridiculous. Weed it, burn it and then dance on the ashes.


the library


medicine cabinet


multiple births



  1. And no mention of the hot-flash-preventing medicine giving you breast cancer. Plus the ever-popular “it’s all in your head, dearie, not the fact that your hormones are going insane, oh no!” And of course no one’s ever relieved to not have to worry about having a period or getting pregnant again; perish the thought.

    Leukemia is curable in many cases now (though at that time and even later, it did kill a lot of kids and lead to a lot of maudlin kids’ books) and multiple births are so common as to rarely be mentioned.

    Not going into the exam room with your soon-to-be naked child seems like a bad idea too.

    Even the medicine cabinet’s out of date — you don’t give aspirin to kids.

    PSA: Please wait till the ashes are cold before dancing on them. Or consider recycling the interiors to become something more useful and only dancing on the cover ashes.

  2. “At what age a youngster is introduced to the library depends largely on what it has to offer bleeding gums and easily bruised skin.”

    1. I think if a kid has bleeding gums and easily bruised skin, they need to spend most of their time indoors, reading. After seeing a doctor.

      And what’s with this “kids squirm less when held by their fathers”? Since when? I’ve always seen the kids as much more wiggly with Dad and calmer with Mom. Maybe back in the day when it was Dad’s job to beat the hell out of the kid and terrify them into submission — but those sorts of fathers usually don’t go to the doctor with the children.

      1. I was intrigued at the fact that the text carried over between the disparate pages in a complete sentence.

        And I can see the fathers being assumed to be the authority figures here; “just wait till your father gets home!”

  3. During the 1950s and 1960s these serial encyclopedias were very popular. Usually, they were about topics like cookery, gardening or crafts and you could get the latest weekly installment for very little money when you spent a certain amount at the local supermarket.

    I remember my parents buying the twenty-volume set of a general encyclopedia over half a year. As soon as we got home from the weekly shop, I’d grab the book and go out to read. It drove my father nuts because, as a girl child, it was my duty to put the groceries away. He was the one who was supposed to get first drank at the new volume.

    1. Which makes me think that having only volume 6, Le-Nu, is even odder. IIRC with encyclopedias of that sort, there were a LOT of volume 1, the A’s, and many fewer ones that got all the way to WXYZ.

  4. Even in a book about child care I can’t escape the horrors of The Big M. Sure, it will be great not to have to worry about periods and pregnancy anymore, but is it really going to be worth migraines, burning and sweating every night, gaining weight until I’m about as heavy as a small elephant, and getting a voice like Darth Vader?

    1. Yes, it is. And you might not have all of those problems; it’s anybody’s guess what symptoms you’re going to have.

  5. I’m glad our local A&P (I remember being very small, at eye level with the fish on ice behind the glass front of the fish/meat counter. I knew they were not alive but they did seem to be looking back at me) went for better incentives, such as a set of classical music records. They did offer a Funk & Wagnall’s encyclopedia at one time, though — I remember because I thought the name was so funny. It was later replaced by the World Book and then the Encyclopaedia Britannica — my parents were serious about education.

    1. I had a somewhat “hand me down” Grolier WB. We didn’t have the EB though. F&W was a new one when I ran into their old “Literary Digest” backfile in college.

    2. “You can look that up in your Funk & Wagnalls!”… anyone?

      We already had an EB by the time I was born. I do remember getting the Time-Life series on the Bicentennial.

  6. Oh, yes, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in. “Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall’s.” Now does anyone remember Laugh-In? Extra credit if you can name the famous comedians who came out of it. (Well, famous at the time–may be forgotten by now)

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