I have recently discovered some vintage children's books that I'm so in love with. I discovered the first one at the Crystal Hill Antique Mall in North Little Rock. They have a wonderful framing shop located there called Happenstance that has tons of already matted ephemera and prominently displayed was a large frame with five pictures and the title from "Funny Farm Friends on Vacation" and another with "Plump Piggies". I was in love. No, I wanted a baby so I could decorate a nursery around these pieces. Never mind that the Best Loved Husband may not want to start over again with diapers, the Best Loved Baby Boy is seriously planning for the LSAT and we decided to shoot the stork a long time ago. None of that matters when you see these pictures.
There are a bunch of these titles, and similar ones. The Funny Farm Friends were copyright 1938 and published by Sam Gabriel and Sons. The text isn't anything to get excited over, but the pictures! It seems that Sam Gabriel and Sons did tons of these little books from the 1930's to the 1950's. I've been able to find several series all over the internet for no more than $15.00 each. They are about 8 x 7 inch soft cover stapled booklets made from a paper called "Linenette". Linenette is a high quality clay coated paper that is embossed to look like it has a fabric weave. It is tough and must have been hard to tear and has not corroded from acid. So many books I find this old are crumbling because their paper is so high acid and self distructs. There is no author or, even more sadly, illustrator credited for any of the Sam Gabriel Books I have and I can't find any illustrator listed anywhere.
This layout of the farm animals racing I adore. The rabbit winning - sure, but the Pig! I love, love these. Love the rich colors. love the fried egg daisy flowers everywhere. I'm looking for more of them. I'll post more scans when I get them. If anyone knows of the illustrator or illustrators of these. I think of them working in house for little wage but producing this.