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Book Fair Blog

Every book has a story
Every book has a story.

Check in frequently to read the behind-the-scenes scoop on the Newberry’s popular Book Fair. The blog is maintained by “Uncle Blogsy,” otherwise known as Dan Crawford, Book Fair Manager.

The Tide Rolls In

We seem to have survived a post Memorial Day surge. As I have mentioned, I am not sure why there are these days when everyone and her sister seems to feel a need to drop off books. But I think I have a hint. Someone, as I handed him a receipt, thanked me and nodded, “Had to get these in before the end of May.”

He didn’t have to do that on my account. I keep telling people we accept donations through July 3. But maybe I didn’t get the whole story. Maybe if he didn’t have the books cleaned out by May 31, his wife was going to call in the goon squad. It’s an old, old story.

In any case, the surge naturally washed up a number of possible winners of the Object Which Lures Most Customers To the Book Fair. Among the treasures people will no doubt beat down the doors to buy are:

“U.S.A. Forever”, a piece of sheet music in which poet Edmund Vance Cooke writes new lyrics to the tune of Dixie. The publisher explains that the original lyrics weren’t very poetic, and nobody sings them nowadays (1918) anyhow. I realize I am pushing my luck sneering at another poet this week, as the Pulitzer Committee has not yet called about the beauties of my own verse, but I bet more people know the lyrics of Dixie than are singing “Here Latin, Celt, and Slav and Saxon look like Lincoln, Clay, and Jackson, Hip-hooray, hip-hooray, hip-hooray, U.S.A.! And we’re for peace all ‘round the compass ‘til we’re forced to raise a rumpus, Hip-hooray, hip-hooray, hip-hooray, U.S.A.! So it’s U.S.A. forever, hooray! Hooray! I thank the fates which fixed my dates in U.S.A. forever!” What kind of dates did the fates fix him up with, anyhow?

I’ve checked, and Mr. Cooke is most famous, it says here, for a motivational poem called “How Did You Die?” He also wrote “Moo Cow Moo”, a poem which did, briefly, haunt my childhood. I had not thought of it in fifty years or thereabouts, and I understand he was perfectly suited to write World War I songs like U.S.A. Forever (there are three more verses, but you’ll have to come buy the thing.)

There was a Mickey Mouse backscratcher, which strikes me as somewhat sinister, and a Scrooge McDuck necktie, and a magic potion produced by Estee Lauder. The donor noted “That costs ninety bucks.” Not at my Book Fair, oyster sorbet. People buying beauty aids at a book fair are not going for top of the line.

There were four boxes marked “Vintage Childrens Books”, which presumably means they were read by vintage children. Most of these dated to the forties and fifties (the ones from my childhood were obviously dropped into the box by mistake.) There was also a small box of children’s greeting cards, and a number of elderly board games. A few boards without pieces or rules were also included. Even without the rest, I expect I can sell the Raggedy Ann board, but I’m most interested in this one where the children are playing to land on a space showing what their future spouse will look like. It takes Mystery Date up a notch.

To top it all off, there is this little booklet on how to make authentic-looking old-time blouses, called The Little Bodice Book. I think any further comment is unnecessary, though I do wonder whether there is a companion volume called The Big Bodice Book.

And which of these bodices goes with a Scrooge McDuck necktie?

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