The Children’s Picturebook Price Guide

Ephemera, a blog “exploring the world of old paper, recently published an an interview with Linda and Stan Zielinski, the authors of the Children’s Picturebook Price Guide. According to Amazon:

[This book] provides values for nearly 23,000 books, covering over 700 children’s book illustrators dating from 1929 to 2006. For owners of picturebooks, the price guide is an essential tool to identify and assess their value.

This interview is fascinating, touching as it does upon two of my hobbies: collecting and books. There are several nuggets of good info here. I particularly like this bit:

We tend to focus on the first edition of children’s picturebook which have been met with success in the general children’s book market. This success manifests itself by staying in print for decades, and large number of sales of the book over time. In other words, books that stand the test of time with the children, across generations.

There are many examples: All of the Dr. Suess books, which have sold more than 300 million copies worldwide. The Caldecott Medal winning books, which was initially awarded in 1938, stay in print, and have been read by generations. Madeline, first published in 1939, has never been out of print. Ferdinand, 1936. Wanda Gag’s Millions of Cats, is the earliest example of a picturebook that has stayed in print since its first publication, which was 1928.

There are very few things created in the 30s, 40s, or 50s, remaining unchanged, that would be enjoyed by today’s generation. Superman and Batman were created in the 1930s, and their franchises still run strong. However, it’s not the comic books of the 1930s that is appealing to today’s 8-to-14 year olds–the superheroes have been updated for the modern era. Not so for picturebooks from decades ago.

Millions of Cats is the first book I can remember my mother reading to me. I love it as much today as I did when I was a boy.

My wife and I both love children’s books. Picture books are especially fun. We’re not collectors, but that’s only because we have other hobbies.

[ephemera: Interview with the authors of the Children's Picturebook Price Guide]