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.
As 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!
My 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?