BEST IN CHILDREN'S BOOKS INDEX 

From 1957 to 1961, the Doubleday Book Clubs, under the Nelson Doubleday imprint, published a multi-volume work entitled Best in Children's Books. In all, there were 42 volumes published, each issued with a full color dust jacket. The volume designation is difficult to determine at first glance, since it is marked only by a number on the bottom right corner of the title page and on the back flap of the dust jacket. Reprints of volumes were designated by the addition of a lower case "a" following the volume number.

 

Each volume contained a mix of classics, new stories, and non fiction. Included were numerous folk and fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm; Mother Goose rhymes; retellings of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and The Ugly Duckling; and adaptations of Robinson Crusoe, A Christmas Carol, and Gulliver's Travels. Every volume had an informational piece on a different country, complete with photographs, introducing children to new and exotic lands like Japan, Israel, and Thailand. A love of history was fostered through stories about Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon, Benjamin Franklin, Daniel Boone, Robert Fulton, Clara Barton, Marco Polo, and the Wright Brothers. Mythology was introduced with stories about Pandora, Ulysses, Pegasus, Damocles, and Jason. 

For a researcher in children's literature, perhaps the most intriguing part of the series is the illustrators. Their names are not given on the table of contents page, but are found only on the title page of the individual story. Because of this lack of credit, most of the illustrations done in this series are not mentioned in bibliographies of the artists' work. Thanks to the efforts of art director Diana Klemin, many now-famous illustrators did some of their earliest work in this series, including Maurice Sendak, Ezra Jack Keats, Peter Spier, Barbara Cooney, Feodor Rojankovsky, Richard Scarry, and even Andy Warhol. 

Following is an index in four separate sections. First is the Volume List (pp. 2-21) which has a list of each story, with full bibliographic citation, in the order in which it appears in the volume. This is basically a re-creation of the table of contents pages, with illustrator names added. The next section is the Author Index (pp. 22-32). All stories for which the author had responsibility are listed alphabetically. Volume and page numbers appear in parentheses following the title. When available, birth and death dates are given. Names appearing in brackets are alternative forms of the name. The Illustrator Index (pp. 33-41) follows the same format as the Author Index. The last section is the Title List (pp. 42-60), giving an alphabetical listing of all titles appearing in the 42 volumes. 

The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection

The University of Southern Mississippi

118 College Drive #5148

Hattiesburg, MS 39406

601.266.4349

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