May 2011 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Catalogue Review: Cattermole Books

Catalogue Review: Cattermole Books, No. 49

Children's books are and always will be collectible because, in so many cases, people have fond memories of a particular title from their youth, and so they chase it. There are several booksellers dedicated solely to this area, and one whose catalogue I recently received is Cattermole Books of Newbury, OH. They offer a trip down Memory Lane for readers, and--perhaps best of all--they make them accessible and affordable to all levels of collectors.  

This is an important point. I have often wondered how a collection "starts." Do you begin with one high-end book that kick-starts a collection and then surround it with other (less expensive) items from the same author or genre? Or, do you start with a $10 item you picked up somewhere and keeping building until one day you reach the $1000 items? For many folks, the answer is likely the latter. Which is why Cattermole's catalogue is wonderful, with books ranging from $8 to the mid hundreds, it makes book collecting possible for new, young, savvy collectors.

Cattermole has titles from the standard children's favorites: Bemelmans, Carroll, Dahl, Grimm, Lionni, Lobel, McCloskey, Sendak, and Steig. This catalogue showcases a collection of William Mayne, called by the cataloguer, "the best English writer of the 20th century." Debatable, I say. But a copy of the first edition of his 1973 story, The Jersey Shore ($45)--not debatable. There are many more Maynes, most in the $20-$40 range.

It is surprising to see names like Baskin, Asimov, Gaiman, Daniel Pinkwater, Mario Puzo, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Vonnegut show up in this catalogue, but they do. Some are cross-over authors, some have surprising little children's books up their sleeves. A few Philip Pullman titles, including a first signed copy of The Scarecrow and His Servant ($75), will draw collectors. H.A. Rey's The Stars (also $75), with its rare original dust jacket that unfolds to double size and contains a map of the constellations, sounds quite enticing.

It's nice to see some surprises in this catalogue, even more so when they aren't terribly out of reach.