Monday, April 2, 2012

Out of Print -- Out of Mind?? A special MMGM post

Have you ever forgotten a really good book?  One that's out of print now?  And then suddenly you come across it, maybe in a library, or a used bookstore, or even (in my case) on your own very crowded bookshelves, and you say, OH!  That book!

That was my reaction when weeding out my bookcases recently to try to squeeze in more acquisitions, and my eyes lit upon this:



The Mennyms by Sylvia Waugh (first published in the UK in 1993; US edition published by Harper, 1996, for ages 8 to 12).  First in a sequence of five books which includes:










(And if these titles remind you of The Borrowers, you're close!)

I nearly cried when I learned these books were going out of print, soon after I started working at the bookstore ten years ago.  I purchased all of them in paperback, read them several times and put them away on a shelf.

Who are the Mennyms?  They're a family of life-size dolls created by a lonely British woman, and when she dies... they come to life.  But they still have button eyes (take that, Neil Gaiman!) and they look, well, like dolls.  Soobie, the teenaged son, is blue.  The rest are more realistic, but they're still dolls, so they must stay close to home and not go out unless wrapped up in enough clothing to disguise themselves. They never age, they don't eat or drink, but they can communicate with the rest of the world by telephone or by writing letters (keep in mind, these books were written before computers and cell phones).  They're even clever enough to earn a living (Vinetta sews dresses, for instance, and Granpa, also known as Sir Magnus, writes articles for the Times).  

But trouble arrives in the form of a letter from their new landlord, who lives in Australia, and who has decided to pay a visit...

Wish I could tell you to go out and buy these books, but they're all out of print.  You know by now that I don't own an e-reader (and I'll resist as long as possible), but I can see that these are great candidates for e-books, if only to keep them from disappearing forever.

What out of print treasures do you wish would come back into print?

MMGM is the brainchild of Shannon Messenger.  For other MMGM bloggers, see my new list in the sidebar on the right!  If you don't see your own blog in there, let me know.  I'll update as needed. 


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For the next week and a half, I'll be taking a blogging break to spend some time with my family, but I'll be back on Friday April 13 with a Class of 2K12 interview with J. Anderson Coats, author of THE WICKED AND THE JUST, and on Monday, April 16, I have a special MMGM guest post from Class of 2K12 author Sarvenaz Tash, author of THE MAPMAKER AND THE GHOST.  See you then!

22 comments:

  1. I love the covers. I can't think of any that I loved that went out of print. Maybe because I don't have the book anymore.

    Have a great break!

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    1. Thanks, Natalie.

      The first cover is a little odd, but I love the rest of them.

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  2. these books looks so sweet! thanks for highlighting them. i'm not sure what books i loved as a kid are not in print anymore. the thought does make me a little sad!!

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    1. Hi Gina! They are sweet stories, so it's a shame they went out of print so quickly.

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  3. I haven't heard of these (but the button eyes creep me out). I wish books never wouldn't go out of print. Maybe they're on Ebay for hundreds of dollars? :-)

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    1. The button eyes are a little creepy, but I think it's interesting that she thought of it before Neil Gaiman wrote CORALINE.

      Ah, if these are on Ebay for that much money, then I'm in great shape!

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  4. This sounds like a good series! It's sad when books are out of print, but sometimes you can still find them :) I wonder if I can find these - maybe at the library!

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    1. There you go, Erik! That's what libraries are for. Good luck!

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  5. How fun that you found the books again! :) Have a nice break!

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  6. I've never seen these. It's so fun to find books from childhood. It's too bad books have to go out of print.

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  7. I, too, love the Mennyms, but they are an increasingly hard sell in my library. Waugh's Space Race was hot for a few years, but again has lagged. I am fortunate that my school library has most of the books I deem essential, but from time to time a student loses one and I have to stalk half.com until I find a reasonable price. I was glad for Image Cascade republishing Dinny Gordon-- I'd forgotten how the series ended and the copies were hideously expensive until they were brought back.

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    1. Oh, yay! Glad to hear you've read The Mennyms. But sorry to hear the students aren't that interested.

      And it's wonderful that you try to keep your library so well stocked.

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  8. Great minds ... I blogged about my favorite out of print board book just last week ... Max's First Word.

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    1. Hi Linda! Haven't heard from you in ages. How funny that we both talked about out of print books recently.

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  9. What a fabulous feature! Now I want to go looking for these books.

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    1. Excellent! That's the whole point! Thanks.

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  10. I've never heard of these books so thank you for introducing them to me. I wish they weren't out of print though. :(

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  11. Some of these book covers are so freaky! Sounds like a unique series. Maybe you'll get lucky and stumble upon on is an obscure used bookstore someday!

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    1. Hi Susan. They are a strange collection of covers! But the books themselves are so much fun to read.

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