tree houses title page

World Class Tree Houses

Tree Houses
Wills
1957

This book was weeded from a local collection. The book was tired looking and was outdated and hadn’t left the shelf in decades. I was curious about the author and found out that Royal Barry Wills was an architect and was pretty influential. His work work was mostly in New England and was considered to be the master of the Cape Cod style.

Considering this was geared to children, the text was more complex and instructions weren’t easy to follow. I think this is more a vanity project, given the author’s credentials. This is not to say this book doesn’t have worth. I am sure that architecture geeks would say this is worth keeping. That may be true, but it still doesn’t belong in a modern youth nonfiction collection.

Hawaii cover page

Hawaii is really American!

Hawaii USA
Edelman
1954 revised 3rd printing 1959

This was still in circulation as of this writing. Much like our Alaska book previously featured, this book is woefully out of date. Hawaii became a state in 1959, so this particular edition was updated enough to acknowledge statehood. For the life of me, I cannot understand why this book is still in a public library. I am willing to go out on a limb and say that the Hawaii of 1959 is not the same as Hawaii of 2021. Seriously, why would anyone want a 60 plus year old book on Hawaii?

family grows

A new baby for the family

How a Family Grows
Shay
1968

This is a photo essay explaining reproduction to kids. This family is expecting a baby and there is a narrative of how this family explains the upcoming birth to the siblings. We featured another of Arthur Shay‘s books about nursing. That book also followed a similar format of following a particular bunch of students as they go through nursing school. They aren’t particularly bad, just outdated.

The first picture below almost had me do a double take. I thought this was some bizarre ice sculpture, and then read the caption about a field trip. I am assuming that the field trip was to a science museum and not some weird cocktail party.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Story

Thanksgiving
Wyndham
1963

We have another Thanksgiving holiday book from the olden days. This book is more the familiar story those of us of a certain age remember as the “true” story of Thanksgiving. Of course it reads a bit more sweetly and glosses over some of the rougher experiences of the Pilgrims. Not to mention under playing the role of the local natives in keeping the colonists alive that first winter.

smashed potatoes

Thanksgiving Fiction for the Kids

Smashed Potatoes
and other Thanksgiving Disasters
Murphy
1994

Someone had to remind me that this week is Thanksgiving week. It is one of my favorite holidays since it really requires nothing but some turkey and the Detroit Lions failing to win a football game. Usually we post fiction on a Friday, but since I have a Thanksgiving title, we will be featuring this one before the holiday.

This one is for the middle elementary set. The family is preparing for the holiday when Mom is called away to help a relative who is ill. Mom sets a reservation at a local place since she won’t be there to cook. (Evidently, Dad is too incompetent to cook as well.) Megan decides this isn’t how they should do Thanksgiving dinner and cancels the reservation. She is going to step up and cook. Of course, nothing goes to plan and Megan realizes her dinner is fast becoming a disaster. However, she eventually realizes that Thanksgiving is really about family togetherness.

Meeting the challenge cover

Children with Diabetes

Meeting the Challenge: Children Living with Diabetes
Bergman
1992

Submitter: This book’s purpose is to show a normal kid living a normal life while managing diabetes, which is great, but managing diabetes looks a little different now than it did 30 years ago. This kid is still peeing on ketone strips to measure his blood sugar, which is pretty irrelevant in today’s world of nearly ubiquitous CGM (continual glucose monitoring—a sensor is attached to the body and provides real-time blood sugar readings via an app). Most kids today would also be using a pump rather than syringes, which are the only insulin delivery tool in the book, with the exception of one insulin pen.

The other odd thing about this book is the extended section devoted to a summer camp for kids with diabetes that the protagonist attends. The point is likely to show the kids doing all the kinds of things their friends can do, but it feels a little random and oddly specific to this one kid. Especially the counselor in face paint for some kind of activity, included in the pictures.

Holly: When a kid receives a diagnosis like diabetes and is learning to live with it, both they and their parents need current and helpful information. This offers neither of those things. Nice idea; past its prime.

Nicotine and Caffeine cover

Nicotine and Caffeine

Focus on Nicotine and Caffeine
Perry
1990

Submitter: It’s a little jarring to see nicotine and caffeine lumped together. Maybe nicotine has decreased in “everyday drug” status since 1990 or maybe I just don’t take caffeine seriously enough, but it seems like an odd pairing. And the “current” stats (from 1989) on smoking are obviously a little of out date by now—down from 29% to about 14% in 2019, per the CDC. The sentence “Like little smokestacks, smokers send out poisonous gasses into the world around them and deep into the world inside them” is pretty great though.

Holly: I think you’re right – smoking is just not as commonplace as it was when this book was published. Caffeine use, however, is still very prevalent. And I agree – we don’t generally lump those two drugs together. Maybe also because there’s no age-related law on purchasing caffeinated foods and beverages. Kids can buy a chocolate candy bar and a Coke; they can’t buy cigarettes.

fun with science cover

Science Fun!

Fun With Science
Easy Experiments for Young People
Freeman and Freeman
1956

This little gem from the 1950s is CLEARLY past its “sell by” date. The cover was in bad shape and there was some yellowing. This came from a university collection, not a public library. (There was one public library that had this book listed in its collection.) The Freemans wrote many youth science nonfiction books up into the 1970s.

This book was first published in 1943 and was last printed in 2000. The Freemans passed away in the 1980s. I couldn’t find much biographical information about the Freemans with my cursory searches. Given the longevity of their books, as well has the number of titles, their materials should be archived and maintained for study.