Thrift Store Jackpot

Yesterday the kids and I swung by the thrift store because they need new shoes. We didn’t find shoes, but we did find something else on my list: a stack of classic children’s books in mint condition, most for $0.49! When we like a book from the library or I know a classic is one worth owning, I add it to one of my (very disorganized) lists of children’s books, either on my phone or on Pinterest (are you on Pinterest? I’m over at ). That way, when I run across a sale I have a quick reference for books we already own or want to find. Usually the thrift store book bins are only full of Elmo or Dora books or decrepit volumes eaten by age. Instead, we came home with:

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  • Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say (Caldecott Medal book)
  • The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Marla Frazee. The illustrations in this book are delightful!
  • The Umbrella and The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett. We’re always on the lookout for more Jan Brett books, and have had good luck finding them at the used book store and the quarterly library sale, in addition to receiving several as gifts.
  • Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey (Caldecott Honor book). Another classic from the author of Make Way for Ducklings.
  • Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans (Caldecott Honor book).
  • Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky. This is the abridged edition. Usually I’m not happy about that, but the twins just don’t have the patience to sit through the longer text heavy version yet (found at a library sale last year). It’s nice to have a copy we can read together now.
  • We All Went on Safari: A Counting Journey through Tanzania by Laurie Krebs, illustrated by Julia Cairns. We’ve read a library copy of this book over and over again, and I’ve had it on my African American Kids’ Resources Pinterest page for months hoping to run across a copy. Lively text and great illustrations. Our little ones love this book, and so do I.
  • Bobby’s Zoo by Carolyn Lunn, Tom Dunnington. Who knew the out-of-print book we just got for pennies is going for $50 online, even in so-so condition? I hadn’t seen this book before, but spotted it in the bin because it had an African American main character. Colorful pictures and rhyming alliterative text. Too bad it’s out of print. It would probably sell well reincarnated as a board book.
  • Who Took the Farmer’s Hat? by Joan Nodset and Fritz Siebel. This book is new to me, but looked like fun. The illustrations are reminiscent of Bill Pete’s work.
  • Paul Bunyan by Stephen Kellogg. I loved Kellogg’s detailed, quirky illustrations as a kid.
  • In the Woods by Ermanno Cristini and Luigi Puricelli. A textless “look and find” kind of book. Bright and detailed illustrations of nature. I think the kids will have fun looking through this one and spotting the animals on their own when they’re just a little bit bigger.
  • Baby Farm Animals, a Little Golden Book illustrated by Garth Williams (illustrator of the Little House on the Prairie series). We’re all about animals and animal noises these days. Woof.
  • Loose Tooth by Anastasia Suen, illustrated by Allan Eitzen, based on the characters created by Ezra Jack Keats. Not incredibly high quality, but a reasonable imitation of Keats’ characters and style. For 49 cents I didn’t mind adding it to our stack, especially since we own most of the books in the actual Peter series by Keats.
  • Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. I grew up with this classic chapter book for early readers, and look forward to reading it out loud to the kids in a few years.
  • Counting Farm, a board book. Board books lead harsh and tragic lives in our household. I stock up on inexpensive replacements when I can.
  • Moo, Baa, La, La, La by Sandra Boynton. Speaking of harsh lives for board books… We already own a copy of this one, but the kids are beating the tar out of it and have chewed off most of the corners. Now there’s a backup waiting in the wings.
  • Holly by Ruth Brown. A simple but sweet story of a stray cat who finds a home. The illustrations are lovely and the style looked familiar. I realized that’s because Brown also illustrated James Herriot’s The Christmas Day Kitten, one of my childhood favorites at Christmastime.

Do you have a favorite source for books in your house?


8 thoughts on “Thrift Store Jackpot

  1. Jackpot, indeed! I LOVE “Grandfather’s Journey” and the classic Little Golden Books like this one. I always look at thrift stores for books, too, and recently grabbed three beautifully illustrated (and pristine) board books for 25 cents apiece at a garage sale down the street! They have become Charlotte’s favorites. Other than that, I keep a wish list on Amazon for family to refer to for gift-giving, or when I need to add an extra $5-6 to my cart!

    • It’s always exciting to find used board books in great condition (or at least, it’s exciting if you’re a book nerd and cheap 😀 ). Usually by the time a kid is done with them they’re chewed to pieces! Hi to your family – we miss all of you.

  2. You really did hit the jackpot! I need to keep a running list of books worth buying… And I need to sift through some of ours and recycle the ones that are beyond repair! The Seven Silly Eaters is one of our absolute favorites – we renewed it 4 times at the library, and Cecilia keeps asking me to check it out again, so that’s definitely one that I’ll pick up as soon as I find it!

    • We had so many books being torn, squashed, or bent that I put all the supplies for a book hospital in our kitchen – packing tape, scissors, and a razor blade for trimming. Sometimes I don’t catch it in time though. The worst was when a couple of library books bit the dust. There are cheaper options for chew toys…

  3. I am on the hunt for Blueberries for Sal at the moment so was excited to see it in your haul. I picked up One Morning in Maine earlier this year and Ginger loves it.

    I am actually off to a book fair tomorrow – my indulgent husband is taking the day off to look after the kids (he has a fair bit of toil -time off in lieu- time owing to him anyway). I love those because you get a lot of good books in one place but pay the penalty of higher prices, but garage sales, op shops and resource recycling centres are definitely they best placed to get books cheaply if your luck holds out. That said, I hit jackpot in an op shop in our small town a few weeks ago and picked up five classic board books which were all pristine and had actual stories in them! Most of the library board books are those one word a page deals – I can’t stand them! If I am going to read a story aloud we want a little bit of plot! We have lots of special tape in our kitchen for repairing books….little tom kitten is really hard on them. Where’s Spot is his favourite – all the tabs have been restuck with stickytape and then he chewed the spine off!

    • Ooh, have fun at the book fair. That sounds like a great day’s getaway. “Where’s Spot” was also a huge favorite here – a neighbor gave it to the kids. Unfortunately, when the children ripped the tabs off they also ate them. It is beyond repair. One would think on a sturdy board book designed for small children they would also design sturdy tabs?

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