1. Aliki’s Dinosaurs


*July 2017 update: only a few of these card left in my shop.

On Tuesday I went to Bromley Library, South London, to return The Life of Pi (a brilliant read, if you haven’t read it) for my son.

For me, no trip to the library is complete without a peruse around the For Sale section, the library book graveyard. Occupying a shelf all by itself was the awesome (and I never use this word) Times Atlas of the World, almost the size of the world and just as heavy. (I know I am supposed to be writing about Aliki, but bear with me).

I have always admired this book. As a child, I would look at it for hours in the reference section of my local library. The paper is good and thick, and has that mattness I lust after. I still love looking at maps. I never, tire of the London A – Z.

In the nineties I worked at Stanford’s in London. If you don’t know it, it’s a travel book and map shop on Long Acre in Covent Garden. I had recently graduated from art college.  It was a great time in my life. I had just met my husband, he was working nearby for a small graphic design company. In Stanford’s, The Times Atlas of the World had a special display table with just one book on the top. I would open it to a different page every day. I can’t remember ever selling a copy, I think it was about a hundred pounds, even then.

The Bromley edition was a mess. Sad, but made me happy because I would have no problem with the butchering. Many, many, many people had enjoyed this book. Dreaming of far off climes, or maybe showing their children a relative’s birthplace.

I always knew the book would never be mine. I knew before I picked it up exactly how heavy it was. Even during my excitement at spotting it, I knew I wouldn’t be able to carry it home. I have spine issues. That’s my spine, not the book’s. I have carried forbidden things in the past, and painfully regretted doing so for months afterwards. I left the library extremely forlorn, I’m not exaggerating.

I hope it went to a good home.

About ten minutes later I called into a local charity shop. I still can’t believe my luck. There it was, My Visit To The Dinosaurs (first published in 1969, this edition 1972) by Aliki. I fantasize about finding a book by Aliki. I once did, but its condition was too good to use in my work. This one has lived a thousand lives. It is no stranger to sellotape.  Most of the pages are not attached to the spine, some have been reattached, quite obviously, out of sequence. It was once owned by a V. Stephens, who once owned a blue Biro and had neat handwriting.

I can’t wait to breathe new life into it.

Aliki Brandenburg was born in 1929, and grew up in Philadelphia as part of a big Greek family. She writes and illustrates the most beautiful of books. She says “Children’s books are a combination of two things I love: words and pictures”. Her two children, Jason and Alexa, appear in most of her illustrations. I believe that she now lives in London, although that may be wishful thinking.

There are a few groovy dads visiting the dinosaurs, so if I can get my act together I may make a couple of Father’s Day cards. However, I may not. I am really on a roll with those old uniforms.

*4.7.16: Six cards left. They can be found in my Folksy Shop.

That's an actual fresh-air-gap between the front and back cover

That’s an actual fresh-air-gap between the front and back cover


One of many out-of-sequence repair jobs

One of many out-of-sequence repair jobs

A section from the back cover, beautiful isn't it?

A section from the back cover, beautiful isn’t it?

And this is Aliki

And this is Aliki

27 thoughts on “1. Aliki’s Dinosaurs

  1. What a fantastic book ! I love it. My son had an extreme fascination with dinosaurs from the age of 2 so I was always reading him dinosaur books & going to the Natural History Museum etc. I know Stanfords well as I used to go to a fantastic American vintage clothes shop in the eighties called “Flip” which was opposite. looking forward to seeing your dinosaur cards. XX

    • Yes, my son had the same dinosaur thing.
      I was a regular visitor in Flip, still have a few things I bought there. One day it just wasn’t there any more. It had a distinct smell, didn’t it.

  2. I love this! What a gorgeous find, I love how battered it is. I have a selection of book repair tape in our school library that you’d like for this project 🙂 Looking forward to seeing how you appropriate your find x

    • Nice to ‘see’ you, Glynis.
      Noboby has used proper tape on this, just sellotape, and now it’s all brittle and yellow. I quite like it, though. Can’t understand how the pages have been taped in the wrong order, the numbers are so clear and the pictures don’t match at all.
      It must be lovely to work in a school library. x

    • Nice to see you, Glynis. Whoever repaired this just used ordinary sellotape. Now it’s brittle and yellow, but I like it. Hope you’ve had a good day.

  3. Hi,

    I’d like to congratulate you on winning the “Super Sweet Blogging Award” Heavy black heart To receive this award, simply copy & paste my post – http://vickymyerscreations.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/super-sweet-blogging-award/ , follow the rules, and spread some sweetness of your own! Thanks for being so fabulous! ^_^

    I appreciate you may not be a person who accepts awards, but irrespective I think it is a lovely way to promote you fab blog:)


    • Hello Vicky, so sorry it has taken me a while to thank you. Since I read your comment about the award I have had sleepless nights worrying about offending you.
      This is the second time I have received an award. The first time was after my first ever post. I didn’t understand how these things work work and was embarrassed as I felt I had done nothing to deserve it. So I told the kind award giver this, and sadly never heard from her again. This is a shame, she was nice.
      You probably don’t believe me when I tell you I don’t know how to cut and paste. My son has shown me many times, but each time I forget as I don’t do it often. I have 2 jobs, neither of which involve a computer, and 2 children. I find it difficult to find time to do blogging. Also, I don’t have a smartphone so I can’t do it on the move.
      Thank you for thinking of me, but awards stress me out.
      Hope we can continue to be blog friends.

  4. I’m going to see if I can spot that book through the Minnesota library system. My son would love it. I also love what you’re doing with the old uniforms…….. Also, there’s nothing like a good old books sale!! Cheers!

  5. What a fabulous find… and I agree with your thoughts on the Times Atlas…. in fact I have one from 1992 in my house, which I still love leafing through. It has wonderful maps and reminds me of where my love of geography, exploring and travelling comes from. After maps, my second most favourite thing is dinosaurs…. so thanks for your great post, I enjoyed it very much!

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