Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vintage book: The First Book of Words

I love vintage stuff in general, but I think my favorite vintage thing to collect is children's books. The First Book of Words: Their Family Histories is vintage at its anachronistic best, a window to its publication year of 1954. But a lot of this information is still relevant and is a great introduction to word history, covering English's Indo-European roots, the Norman conquest, Latin and Greek roots, the history of writing and printing, names and surnames, word evolution in the U.S. and words borrowed from other languages, and words formed from brand names, onomatopeia, prefixes and suffixes and slang. It's written in a very engaging way and I expect kids would learn a lot from it. I especially love the two-color art by Hungarian artist Laszlo Roth.

There's always stuff in old children's books that would never fly today, and this book is no exception.
Gotta love the '50s, when women were always pictured cooking, talking on the phone, or being a nurse.

I can just see the letters to the publisher about this entry for assassin.

My kid's elementary school in Oakland, California was always discarding books like this to make room for more politically correct and modern fare, so I "rescued" a lot of them. But this book is from Alphabet Soup in Wallingford.

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