Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Scholastic Memories

My two favorite days in school (not counting snow and vacation days) were when the Scholastic Book flyers would arrive and the books you ordered from them came in.  Okay, I liked Art day too, but that's beside the point.  Anyway, looking through those flyers always charged my imagination; they were like windows to undiscovered worlds.  I loved reading when I was a kid (I still do, although I seem to have less time than ever now).  I could hole up in my room with a book and not come out all day.

I found some Arrow Book Club flyers at an estate sale a while back and just recently scored a large lot of Scholastic Books at another estate sale, so I thought I'd match the flyers up with some of the books.  These flyers are from the late 1960's, so a little before my time.  A warning: this one is image heavy.

November 1968 Arrow Book Club News

The book featured on the cover of this flyer:

"The Mysterious Schoolmaster"

Other books featured in this flyer:

"The Littles to the Rescue"

"The Forgotten Door"

 "Elbert the Mind Reader"

"Nine Witch Tales"

I always loved these collections.

A few years ago, Scholastic came under fire for marketing toys, gimmicks and less-than-educational books to kids.  The cover of this flyer pushing "The Yellow Submarine" souvenir book seems to suggest it had been going on for years.

March 1969 Arrow Book Club News

Some books from this flyer:

"Revolt on Alpha C"

"T.A.B." stood for "Teen Age Books" and were aimed at grades 7 and up whereas "Arrow" books were aimed at grades 4 through 6.

Some books from this flyer:

"Homer Price"

"The Arrow Book of Brain Teasers"

Another collection I enjoyed were the puzzle or joke books.

"The Runaway Robot"

If you're wondering about those strange alphanumeric combinations you see on the covers, such as "TX 863" above, all Scholastic Books were assigned a catalog number and had them printed on the cover.  You can even search Amazon using those numbers.

"Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"

March 1968 Arrow Book Club News

Some books from this flyer:

"The Ghost Rock Mystery"

I've found the covers to the Scholastic mystery books were often better than the actual story and a lot of times had nothing to do with the story.

"Mystery of the Empty House"

"The Wizard of Oz"

I wonder if this is a full or condensed version of "The Wizard of Oz".  I've never read the original (hanging head in shame), so I'm not sure.

Finally, here are some of the other books I picked up recently that aren't featured in these flyers:

"How to Care for Your Monster"

Norman Bridwell is best known for his Clifford books.

"The Witch Next Door"

Another non-Clifford Bridwell book.  Norman Bridwell just passed away last December.

"Ramona the Pest"

By far my favorite children's author was Beverly Cleary, and the art by Louis Darling was the perfect match; I refuse to read the books with the newer art.  I wish I could recapture the experience of the first time I read "Runaway Ralph" or the "Ramona" books.  Remarkably, Beverly Cleary is still alive at 98 (Her 99th birthday is April 12th!)

"Henry and the Clubhouse"

Mark Trail's Book of Animals

"Mark Trail's 2nd Book of Animals"

Because one book wasn't enough.

"TV Stars of '73"
Books about TV shows?  I was in Heaven.

"Strange but True"

Again, loved these.

"Million Dollar Duck"

"Is This You?"

Crockett Johnson is best known for his "Harold and the Purple Crayons" book.  That, along with "Where the Wild Things Are" are among my earliest memories of reading.

"Discovering Dinosaurs"

Not a Scholastic Book, but "AEP", which later became "Xerox Education Publication", were in the same vein.

"The Secret Cave"

Note the original title on this book: "Twenty and Ten".  Scholastic often changed the titles of books to appeal to kids' sense of adventure.  You have to admit, "The Secret Cave" sounds more exciting.

"Adventure at Black Rock Cave"

"Mr. Coverlet's Magicians"

"Father's Big Improvements"

"Prove It"

Science books were another favorite of mine (I know, I had a lot of "favorites"), especially if they came with a mirror or magnet or some other interactive piece.

"Barrel of Fun"


"Codes & Secret Writing"

"School Daze"

"Ghostly Fun"

"Ghost Town Treasure"

"Moon Trip"

"Mysteries, Monsters, and Untold Secrets"

I'd pay cash money to see a UFO attacking Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster AND an Easter Island mo'ai.

"Lost Race of Mars"

"Ripsnorters and Ribticklers"

"Tom Sawyer Detective"

 "Barrel of Fun"

 "Hurricanes and Twisters"

"The Trolley Car Family"

If you've made it through this huge post, thanks for reading.  And if you care to purchase any of these books (Warning: Shamless Plug), please visit my Amazon Store.  It helps fund future garage sale finds and makes room for more stuff!


  1. omg, ok - i’m two posts behind, but this one hit the nostalgia buttons hard, so i’m going to post for this one first:

    like you, i was a big Scholastic fan. i loved ordering from them, getting the books, and then hiding away in my room to read them all in a huge reading binge (is it any wonder we became friends??). i credit Scholastic among the reasons i love reading today, i think. (are they still around? i wonder if kids even care….)

    there are lots of books you post images of that i am certain i read:

    THE LITTLES. oh man how i loved them.
    the Brain Teasers books
    Runaway Robot!
    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (of course)
    Wizard of Oz (of course)*
    How To Care For Your Monster (LOVED this book)
    The Witch Next Door
    Ramona the Pest
    Henry and the Clubhouse
    quite possibly those “TV Stars of ‘__” books.
    Strange But True (loved those!)
    Mysteries, Monsters, & Secrets (is this why ‘70s kids grew up fascinated by Bigfoot??)

    aside from that, just a few longer comments:

    - i love the groovy 1960s psychedelic rock poster influence in the typography on the first photo. you can totally tell it’s from the late 60s.

    - really love the beatles tie-in. you can bet that Peter Max didn’t do that image, and that he never saw a dime for someone copping his style. i haven’t seen Yellow Sub in ages, but this kind of makes me want to see it again.

    - reading Ramona the Pest without the original illustrations is like reading Winnie the Pooh with the Disney versions of the characters. it’s ok, it’s certainly cute and adorable, but there’s something about the original illustrations that are just so. very. perfect.

    - can’t believe i never read the Crockett Johnson books you show. i have a copy of Harold and the Purple Crayon, a long favorite, in our guest bathroom right now.

    1. >(are they still around? i wonder if kids even care….)
      They are and I still love to look at the flyers when my kids bring them home. But sadly, the content has been replaced with a lot of games, gimmicks and toys. They really don't offer great variety of fiction books they did in our day.
      >can’t believe i never read the Crockett Johnson books you show
      I had never seen that one before either. But again, I loved the Harold books.

  2. i forgot to elaborate on my Wizard of Oz asterisk above:

    i went through a big Oz binge at one point, but danged if i can remember any of the book vs. the movie. i do have a collection of short stories by 20th century writers, and Baum has several in there that take place in the Oz universe AFTER the original book, and they are quite interesting. one centers on the relationship between the Scarecrow and the Tin Man, and the nitty-gritty of running the emerald city and what a bother it all is, if i recall. anyway, i guess my point is that if you haven't read the books, it's probably worthwhile to do so.

    1. I may have read Wizard of Oz when I was a kid and found it so different from the movie, I didn't enjoy it. I think I would appreciate it more these days.

  3. WOW, my sister and I purchased about half of these book titles from the flyer you have! I don't have but a couple of these left in my collection. I don't know what happened to the rest of them. WHAT MEMORIES! THAT YOU FOR POSTING THIS!

    1. You're welcome, Unknown. Glad you enjoyed.

  4. Hello Tom, I remember a boys adventure book. Yellow cover, drawing of boys wearing masks. Inside it also included instructions for making masks and shields. Do you remember the title? Please email me in addition to posting here, if possible.

    1. Bob, you're remembering perhaps my favorite childhood book: The Secret Hide-out by John Peterson. I read that book in 4th grade and loved it. I did have a copy for sale, but sold it. I may have another copy around somewhere. I'll look. It is available on Amazon for some good money:


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