5 July 2011

Tuesday's Treasures

These little books are my treasures, this week. They are the 6 books that form the 1st edition of the Epaminondas series, written by Constance Egan and illustrated by A E Kennedy (Pub: Collins, London) (late 50s early 60s)

I have had these books since I was about 4 or 5 and they were my favourite books at the time. I read them so often, the spines eventually wore and had to be re-taped. I can remember sitting in my Grandmother's bed while she read the stories to me. Epaminondas did so many funny things because he misunderstood his Mother (Mammy), or because he reasoned something out that would end in him making a silly decision that always caused problems for his Mother to resolve.

At one stage, there was an attempt to have Epaminondas books banned, and many were burnt in rallies (along with Little Black Sambo books), as they were considered racist.

As a child, I knew nothing about racism, and as I was not brought up in a racist family, all I saw was a funny little boy who always got it wrong. The spoken language of Mammy is very stylised Southern Black (at least, as I have seen them portrayed in old movies), so for them to be published as new books today, they would be rather offensive. But considering when they were published, and the fact that they sprang from folk stories dating back to 1907 or maybe earlier, and aren't about racism, but about the misunderstanding of instructions between adults and children, I don't think they are offensive at all, unless used as a weapon to promote racism.

Recently, I was browsing through Amazon, and came across ONE book from the 1st edition series, that was listed at $176! That set me off to see what else was out there, and so far, I have found one book in England for 49 English Pounds and another 1st edition title for $107 US. I had no idea they were worth that much! lol

I won't be selling mine, though. The memories I have attached to them are worth more than that to me. I will leave it up to my children to sell them if they wish, after I am gone.

                   Pop on over to Melody's blog for more Tuesday Treasures. :)


  1. Lindi, these books look like real treasures. Although I have never heard of them they sound like such fun, especially to a small child. Maybe I should dig my old books out :-)

  2. I'm not familiar with these books but I do have lots of favourites from my childhood too and they do bring back happy memories. It is so lovely to have someone read you a story. Thanks so much for linking into Tuesday Treasures this week.

  3. These books are definitely treasures. I do not know of these books. In my collection, I have a old Thorndike-Barnhart dictionary that my mom bought me that lost it's cover but I still treasure it.

  4. This brought back wonderful memories for me as my Grandmother used to read them to me. I don't know what happened to mine. I agree with your comments as children we didn't understand racism either and loved the stories.

  5. I love the Epaminondas books. They were in my library in primary school and I thought they were so much fun.

  6. Oh how fantastic - I do remember these and also Little Black Sambo... it was such fun trying to pronounce Epaminondas .... great to still have them - thanks for the memory.... excellent

  7. Hello Lindi,

    Oh you are so lucky to have the whole set. It is interesting how racism has crept into our daily lives. I wouldn't be selling them either. Enjoy your books.
    Happy days.

  8. I remember the Epaminondas stories and Little Black Sambo. You are lucky to have such a valuable set.

  9. Hi Lindi,
    I don't remember ever hearing of these books either, but they sound like they brought back many special memories.. I used to love the Enid Blyton books, and had a huge collection..