Category Archive: Tidbit History

Tidbit Histories – Peter Parley Teaches Children to Love Learning!

Samuel Goodrich was born in Connecticut, in 1793, the son of a Congregational minister. In the late 18th century, most reading available for children was either fairy tales or moral tales. Consequently his early reading consisted of Jack the Giant Killer, Puss in Boots and the like. But it was enough to engender a love …

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Tidbit History – Darn! Who Wrote That Book.

We all have favorite books from our childhood, many of which are beloved classics with well-known authors like A. A. Milne or Kenneth Graham or Rudyard Kipling. But we have all had the experience of trying in vain to remember the title, much less the author of an equally beloved book. Trying in vain with …

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Tidbit History – Along Came Dick and Jane

With the westward expansion in the early 19th century Truman and Smith, publishers in Cincinnati, saw opportunity in the new western empire. They approached a professor of ancient languages at Miami University to write a book to help children learn to read. In 1836 they published THE ECLECTIC FIRST AND SECOND READERS by William Holmes …

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Tidbit History – Green Eggs, 50 Words – 50 Bucks

Bennett Cerf, Dr. Seuss’ publisher, had once challenged Seuss to write a book using the 235 words he thought every grade-schooler should know. The result was the ground-breaking THE CAT IN THE HAT. Two years later, as a private joke, Cerf bet Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) $50 that he couldn’t write a book using only …

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Tidbit History – Two Little Words, Hat – Cat

The publication in 1955 of Rudolf Flesch’s WHY JOHNNY CAN’T READ fueled concerns about growing illiteracy among children. William Spaulding, from Houghton Mifflin’s educational division, was convinced that a new primer would do wonders and developed a list of 225 words that every first grader should be able to read. He then invited his friend …

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Tidbit History – Winsor McCay and His Walking Beds

Winsor  McCay, never wrote or illustrated a children’s book, but his highly original comic strip “Little Nemo in Slumberland” delighted children everywhere. Born in Michigan in 1871, McCay eventually studied at the Ypsilanti Normal College and afterwards moved with his family to Chicago. Unable to afford the Art Institute, McCay produced woodcuts used to illustrate …

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Tidbit History – How St. Nicholas Became Santa

Legend holds that the 4th century Turkish bishop St. Nicholas secretly bestowed dowries on the three daughters of a poor citizen, saving them from a life of shame. Considered the protector of children, his legend arrived in the American colonies with the Dutch who called him Sinter Klaas, which became Santa Claus in the mouths …

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Tidbit History – The Map That Became a Book

In 1881, on a cold August day in the Scottish Highlands, a young author entertaining his stepson drew a map. As the map became more elaborate, he started to invent the inhabitants of this new land.  Soon he was writing a chapter a day and reading each day’s installment to his wife and enthusiastic stepson. …

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Tidbit History – Robert Lawson, Author & Illustrator

Robert Lawson, born in NYC in 1892, claimed no special talent for, or desire to be an artist. However, his early years were spent living in the house once owned by American landscape painter, George Innes. Evidently he imbibed the spirit earning his first dollar as an artist in a high school poster contest. After …

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Tidbit History -THE WONDERFUL CENTURY OF OZ

In 1899 L. Frank Baum  collaborated with W. W. Denslow on their best-seller FATHER GOOSE, HIS BOOK. Its success encouraged Baum to write another book based on a bedtime story he had been telling his four sons. Wishing to make the book as enjoyable to look at as to read, no expense was spared. In …

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