Friday, October 14, 2011

The Catholic Dick and Jane

"See the book!" said AM.

"See the book!" said Spouse.

"Oh, oh!" said AM and Spouse.
"It's a green book!"

"It's a green book with Dick and Jane!" said AM and Spouse.
"Can I buy it?" asked AM....

Unless you are a baby boomer, you are probably gagging just about now.

But to people my age...well, most of us learned to read using the Dick and Jane readers. Maybe it was the beginning of the end of literacy - and I did find the books stupid and boring - but maybe those illustrations sparked my interest in non-urban life.

This book, though is older than I am.  It dates from 1941.  And, it led me on a trip of discovery.

When I opened the book at Collectors Corner at the Friends of the Library book sale in Ithaca, NY on Saturday, I was greeted by a sticker picturing a priest taking the confession of a young schoolboy.  Then I noticed the "Cathedral Basic Readers" imprint.  Opening the book, I discovered that some of the stories were religious.

I had myself a find.

So, after some agonizing, I bought it.

In many of the Catholic editions of the Dick and Jane readers, Dick and Jane had their names changed to names considered more "Catholic". But in the edition I have, they were Dick and Jane.  And sister Sally.  And dog Spot.  Complete with "vintage water color illustrations".

I was amazed to find that Dick and Jane were technically adults by the time I read their books for the first time in the 1950's.  They made their first book appearance in 1930.

The 1941 Cathedral edition was the first Catholic edition. 

I've sometimes wondered if I should get into collecting books. Right now I simply like to hold pieces of history.  But one day, I may take this love to the next level.  If I do, I have books like this to thank.

Do you remember learning how to read with Dick and Jane?

1 comment:

  1. What a cool find! Yes, I definitely learned to read with Dick and Jane in the early 70s. Our books were softcover. I remember sitting in a circle in Mrs. Flagg's second grade class, taking turns reading aloud. Great memory!

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