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American Book Company New Education Readers


1900 New Education Readers: A Synthetic and Phonic Word Method: Book One: A Synthetic and Phonic Word Method.  By A.J. Demarest and William M. Van Sickle.  Hardbound.  NY: New Education Readers:  American Book Company.  $9 from Walnut, Iowa, May, '14.  

Here is a chance find in an antique store.  It complements the second and third readers, found, respectively, two and fourteen years ago.  Alas, it does not contain fables, but I will include it in the collection to help complete the early set from American Book Company.  This reader is in fair condition.

1900 New Education Readers: A Synthetic and Phonic Word Method: Book Two: Development of the Vowels.  . By A.J. Demarest and William M. Van Sickle. Hardbound. NY: American Book Company. $9.50 from Brass Armadillo, Gretna, NE, June, '12.

Twelve years ago I found Book Three of this series in Knoxville. I have it listed under 1901. Now I have found Book Two in an antiques collective outside Omaha. There is only one fable included here -- TMCM (119) -- and it is handled in an unusual fashion. Many city mice visit the country, and many country mice then visit the city. There human beings intrude twice, and that is enough to send the country mice home. The moral goes in a slightly different direction from the morals of most versions of this fable: "Those who have the plain things of life are sometimes more happy than the rich" (120). This reader is in very good condition.

1901 New Education Readers: A Synthetic and Phonic Word Method: Book Three: Developmenet of Obscure Vowels, Initials, and Terminals.  By A.J. Demarest and William M. Van Sickle.   Hardbound.  NY: American Book Company.  $3 in Knoxville, April, '00.   

The preface mentions that, to help the child maintain interest, the larger part of stories in this book consists of myth, legend, fable, biography, and fairy tale.  There certainly are many fables included.  Let me first mention those that handle their stories differently or are otherwise noteworthy.  "The Quarrel of the Lion and the Bear" (10, illustrated) features a good use of "If it had not been for" by all three characters.  In OR (20, illustrated), we find not a reed but a willow.  The first phase involves only the oak and the wind.  The last phase has the oak made into planks.  For a change, it is a greedy little girl that needs to take a fistful of nuts from the pitcher (26).  The owner of the goose in GGE is a woman in France (27).  In DM (30, illustrated), the goat, sheep, cow, and horse all come by, one by one.  "The Fox and the Cock" (30) opens with the fox asking the cock how many tricks he can do; the cock wants to learn more tricks, and the fox is willing to show him the trick where he closes an eye and shouts….  In BW (32, illustrated), the boy makes his call three or four times before the men stop coming.  In "The Dog and the Wolf" (35, illustrated), the dog caught out in the open on a chair does not mention a wedding feast and does not specify a date when the wolf could come back and eat him.  There is no first phase at the mouse's place in FM (79, illustrated), and the frog is "only thinking of the fun he will have."  The girl in MM (82, illustrated) practices tossing her head at other milkmaids!  "The Fox, the Bear, and the Farmer" (103, twice illustrated) is new to me, and I enjoy it.  It works like "The Tiger and the Brahmin" and then adds a second phase.  "The Story of Tommy and the Crows: A Fable" (116, twice illustrated) is a pointed story about going to school.  Other fables included here are FG (10), CP (12, illustrated), BC (13), SW (19, poor version), TH (34, illustrated), "The Swallow" (120, twice illustrated), and "The Farmer and the Larks" (157, illustrated).  It pays to find books on the road; I have time in hotel rooms to review them thoroughly!