Waxie-Daxie: a Cold War canine hero

The Taft Hotel loves vintage children's books, but Waxie-Daxie is a bit different from the cute animal-related titles featured elsewhere on this site. This book, written by Samuel Marshak and translated by Dorian Rottenberg, is really more of a pamphlet. It was produced by the Foreign Languages Publishing House in Moscow in 1960 and printed in... Continue Reading →


Rhymes and Ballads of London

My knowledge of poetry is limited, but like many kids I spent my formative years having popular nursery rhymes drummed into my head. Carole Tate's Rhymes and Ballads of London (published in 1971) is a reminder of how many of these old favourites were centred around the capital, its people and its history. "Oranges and... Continue Reading →

Gwyneth Mamlok’s Candy Books

Illustrated children's fiction from the 1960s is so popular now that I was surprised to find that Gwyneth Mamlok's Candy series is still languishing in obscurity. I have Googled in vain for biographical information about the author and illustrator of the six Candy titles that were published in the mid-60s by Thomas Nelson and Sons.... Continue Reading →

This is Edinburgh

Colourful, informative, humorous and cosmopolitan, the work of Miroslav Sasek is all over the internet these days. The Czech author and illustrator died in 1980, but thanks to a series of reprints from Universe Publishing, many of his popular "This is . . ." titles no longer languish in obscurity. If, like me, you follow... Continue Reading →

Topsy and Tim

Topsy and Tim have been back in the news again this month. The rosy-cheeked twins, who were created by Jean and Gareth Adamson, made their debut in print in 1960 and have survived five decades of makeovers, reformatting and changes in publisher. Now these children of the 60s have been relaunched as a live-action series... Continue Reading →

The Sunshine Book

Now here is a childhood favourite that delivers exactly what you expect. The Sunshine Book, published in 1965 by the aptly named Golden Pleasure Books, is a book about the sun that's been cut into a (near) circular shape. They had to leave a straight edge for the (now rusty) staples that are still holding... Continue Reading →

Freddy the Fell Engine

Here's another recently unearthed gem from my childhood library, Freddy the Fell Engine, published in 1966. Freddy is one of a group of colourful steam engines operating out of a town called Cross Creek. Despite his popularity with the passengers, poor Freddy is a bit of slowcoach, generating a lot of smoke and heat as... Continue Reading →

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