A week ago, I briefly described the books I own for young people that contain extras. The very next day, I had intended to compile a list of anniversary editions which I discovered through an online search. Instead I bailed. My excuse? I was preparing for a presentation at school on how to help reluctant and struggling writers. The few who attended seemed to like it. Now to return to my regular schedule!
Most of the anniversary editions of books for young people which made my list will be familiar titles to you. This shouldn’t be surprising, given that Publishers Weekly observed anniversary editions of strong sellers are an obvious way to boost sales. For many of us, I suspect this marketing strategy is truest when a book has extras. For that reason, I haven’t noted any anniversary editions that lacked extras. However, it’s also possible that thrusting a forgotten book back into the spotlight will garner new readers. A few anniversary editions which made my list were surprisingly new to me. How neat that they also contain extras!
Let’s start with some familiar titles. One trend you’ll notice is that some of the books with anniversary editions were also made into movies. For example, there’s Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. To celebrate its twenty-fifth year, silver foil adorns the book’s border. The book also comes with a CD audio recording, a silvery keepsake “All Aboard” ornament, and a note from the author.
Next up is Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum. At one hundred years, it’s the oldest title on my list and contains facsimile of all twenty-four of W. W. Denslow’s original color plates for the first rare edition. The latter is its only extra feature. Yet I have to compliment Wonder Books for simultaneously blessing the literary world with new editions of the entire Oz series.
Then there’s Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Notice another trend? Most of the anniversary editions I found are of picture books. Its sixtieth anniversary edition contains information about the author and the creation of her classic, practice counting with Goodnight Moon 123, option to send a Goodnight Moon eCard, and a Critics Corner. Lots of features!
In contrast, the twentieth anniversary edition of The Mitten by Jan Brett doesn’t seem to have any extra features except an author’s note. Why then have I included it? So I can pass on a recommendation from other reviewers, which is purchase the Jan Brett Christmas Treasury instead! While it doesn’t contain any extras either, it does boost seven published stories by Jan Brett and so makes a good bargain for those who like single-bound editions of books.
When Babar by Jean de Brunhoff celebrated its fiftieth, an Anniversary Album was published. Although it doesn’t include any “bells and whistles” either, I’m including it on my list because it does feature six favorite Babar books. A nice way for new readers to get acquainted with the famous elephant!
One of the rare books for older readers that made my list is Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Its fiftieth edition features the classic original art stamped and debossed on the case with a transparent acetate jacket. There are also photos of the author and illustrator at the time of writing and re-issue on the two-color end-papers. Next, there is an essay by Maurice Sendak, written to celebrate the thirty-fifth edition. Last, there are brief essays from esteemed authors, educators, and artists such as Philip Pullman, Suzanne Collins, Jeanne Birdsall, and Mo Willems.
Back to the picture books! The fiftieth edition of Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats contained eight pages about the author and making of the book. Keats’ website also promoted the celebration: http://www.ezra-jack-keats.org/50th-anniversary-celebration/
Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle recently celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. Its special edition contains an introduction by Katherine Paterson, an afterword by Madeleine L’Engle’s granddaughter Charlotte Jones Voiklis that includes photographs and memorabilia, L’Engle’s Newbery Medal acceptance speech, and other bonus materials.
Moving onto another picture book, The Complete Adventures of Curious George by Margret and H.A. Rey honors that monkey’s seventieth anniversary. The treasury contains seven tales, along with two audio CD recordings of the books, a photographic album of the Reys, and three essays. The introduction is by Leonard S. Marcus, another essay is “Publishers’ Perspective” by Anita Silvey, and a retrospective essay is by Dee Jones.
Finally, there’s Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. It sixtieth anniversary edition contains an introduction by Kate DiCamillo. According to Newsday, she avoided Charlotte’s Web during childhood because she could tell from the cover illustration that the book would contain “some sort of misery, and I wanted nothing to do with misery.” When she finally read it, DiCamillo discovered: “Bad things will happen and readers will cry, but they also have Charlotte’s assurance to Wilbur that “winter will pass, the days will lengthen, the ice will melt in the pasture pond.”
LESS FAMOUS TITLES
During my online search for anniversary editions of books for young people, I encountered four books previously unknown to me. Say Goodnight Gracie by Julie Reece Deaver was reissued on its twentieth anniversary, is about the death of a friend, and contains a biography of the author.
In 2010, HarperCollins brought out a fiftieth anniversary issue of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner. This special edition has a preface by Garner and praise from various other figures involved in children’s literature. In its wake, BBC Radio produced an adaptation and the third volume in Garner’s trilogy was finally released.
The twentieth anniversary edition of Martha Speaks Story Time Collection by Susan Meddaugh is basically another treasury. However, it also has an introduction by the author.
Last, did you know the first book in the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne has celebrated its twentieth anniversary? In a way, this series isn’t unknown to me. Most school libraries seem to have them. Yet I have yet to read one. Prior to this edition, print editions of the series have only been available paperback and library binding. The twentieth anniversary edition is hardbound with a dust jacket. Also, The illustrations in the book are in color, unlike the original edition. There are 12 pages of new material, which includes a letter from author Mary Pope Osborne, additional dinosaur information, a biography of the illustrator, Sal Murdocca, and the history of the Magic Tree House.
What favorite anniversary editions of anniversary books do you own? Why?
Have you read any of the less famous titles? If so, what did you think?
PS If any of my family or friends are reading this post, you now have some gift ideas. 🙂