Forgotten Classics

Normally in this space we talk about upcoming adaptations of the children’s books we love. But sometimes the children’s books we love do not get turned into movies. And sometimes, they are completely out of print. Below are my two favorite forgotten classics.

tc1As a kid I had never even seen a trolley, but I was obsessed with a family who lived in one – The Trolley Car Family. First published in 1947, Eleanor Clymer’s classic tale follows the exploits of a family of six whose patriarch makes a happy living as a trolley car conductor – until the day the trolley car company becomes a bus company. Pa won’t learn how to drive a bus, and instead of a buyout, he takes his faithful trolley car. He hires the grumpy milk man next door to haul the trolley outside the city limits and moves the whole family to the country to live inside the converted trolley. Practical? Not really. Totally awesome? Oh yes.

I was especially obsessed with a diagram of the inside of the trolley – how the beds, stove, and kitchen table fit inside its mass transit exterior was very fascinating to me as a child. Apparently I’m not the only fan – I found a scan of those exact pages online! thetrolleycarfamilyfloorplan

lw2My other favorite out-of-print title was first published just a few short years after The Trolley Car Family, in 1953. Anna Elizabeth Bennett’s Little Witch appears to have achieved almost universal nostalgic love on Goodreads, with 391 users giving it close to five perfect stars. The tale of Minx, a good child who lives with her evil, witchy mother Madame Snickasnee, Little Witch is one of my all-time favorite stories. It has it all: potions, broomsticks, the power of learning and home-baked goods, mysterious powders that turn into centaurs, and a beautiful lady trapped in a mirror. It is one of those perfect, old-fashioned gems. My paperback copy, purchased in the early nineties, is held together with duck tape on the spine. The last time I checked, a new copy on Amazon retailed for $94.94.

I was going to end with, “if you can find either of these classic titles, snap them up!” but I have discovered the most wonderful news while writing this post. Sky Pony Press is celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Little Witch by re-releasing it in hardcover for the first time in 30 years. I cannot recommend this title enough, and I am so looking forward to August 1, 2013, when I can finally give it to the kids in my library!

What are your forgotten classics? Have they ever come back in print?

This entry was posted in Blogger Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla, Children's Literature (all forms), Collection Development, Evaluation of Media, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Forgotten Classics

  1. Marya Kurwa says:

    My forgotten classic would be Little Women and it has come back in print. Whilst spending my teen years in Mumbai , India i would love to reread this book and imagined their lives. I was the youngest of three sisters and found many similarities in the personalities of the sisters and my own.

  2. Lisa says:

    FABULOUS news about Little Witch! I remember getting that at a library used book sale when I was a kid and reading it repeatedly. It was already in poor condition. It will be wonderful to have fresh copies available!

  3. Donna says:

    OMG, those were two of my favorites also! I had forgotten about The Trolley Car Family, and it all came flooding back when I read your post. Little Witch I totally loved. You wanted Little Witch to have friends and a real mom. She was lonely and you just had to hope for her.

    Thanks for the memories! I have to track down old copies of these books now. I suspect we are about the same age. ;-)


  4. Mary Voors says:

    What great memories! Little Witch has always been one of my favorite books from childhood. I also have very fond memories of First to Ride by Pers Crowell and The Forgotten Door by Alexander Key. I think it’s time to re-read all three.

  5. Mary says:

    The Hungry Thing by Jan Slepian. I am holding on to my mom’s copy that has crayon all over it and is taped together until they republish it and I can buy one.

  6. Kathy says:

    Dr. Goat and it’s long out of print. My sisters and I try to remember the rhymes. Dr. Goat put on his coat and went out to make some calls. Original copies are rare. We loved it!

  7. Rachel says:

    I STILL love Trolley Car Family! I have an old copy from my grandma’s house that lost its cover long before I discovered it, and I reread it just this year. The diagram was always my favorite, too, along with all the slabs of cake they had.

  8. Janet says:

    Wow. I was just today describing one of my favorite books (turns out this one) when I was a kid (probably about 1961 or so). I loved, loved, loved, the diagram of how the trolley car was organized into living space. At that time I would have given anything to live on a trolley car and was SO disappointed that I had to live in a conventional house!!
    Thank you.

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