5 July 2011
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. :)