Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Vintage Wednesday

My favorite day of the week! Today I've chosen one of my favorite books because it's so weird, in a wonderful way. The Writer stumbled (well, ripped out of the hands of the person she was Vintage Binge-ing with) on this book. It's called The Cat Whose Whiskers Slipped, by Ruth Campbell. It's a collection of strange stories like the title story, plus "The Lamb Who Loaned His Baa," "The Firefly Who Scattered Sparks," "The Squirrel Who Cracked His Chatter," "The Robin Who Lost His Song," and "The Dog Who Lost His Wag."

The Writer's copy is in terrible shape. The title and copyright pages are missing. But with a little research I found the book was published in 1925 (The Writer's favorite year!) by Volland Publishing. Volland was based in Chicago, beginning in 1908. The owner aspired to publish fine but affordable calendars, greeting cards, and books for adults and children. The children's books were by far the most successful. Ruth Campbell wrote several books for Volland--her illustrator was often V Elizabeth Cadie, who did the pictures for The Cat Whose Whiskers Slipped.

The biggest "star" of Volland was Johnny Gruelle of the Raggedy-Ann books. Volland did well until the crash of '29. Even Gruelle's name couldn't keep the company afloat and Gruelle's work was sold to another publisher. Today, Volland books are highly collectible and are known for their beautiful Art Deco illustrations. The Writer prizes this book, even though her copy is falling apart.

If you ask me, that book is a very scary book for little children. And for certain cats.

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