The Very Hungry Caterpillar

A submission from one Grace (many thanks) about a rare children's book. This is more the kind of thing we used to do at Bookride but it contains a little new info. The 'point' on the book is that  a true first edition (World Publishing, USA 1969) must have a  full number line on the copyright page, “1 2 3 4 5 73 72 71 70 69″.The back cover should have ‘A3450′ on the bottom right. A d/w might turbo-charge it into $10000…on the other hand it may be a little vieux chapeau in the rapidly changing world of children's book collecting and it would be interesting to see if this one sells for a significant sum sans jacket… go on exhaustively  about every aspect of the book's collectability. Grace writes:

My husband and I have had a strong interest in antique and collectible books, always on the look out for something unusual.  We've been impressed with the value of a book that we came across on more than occasion.  But, the last place we expected to come across a rare book was among our kids' extensive library.

Many of the books they have piled on their shelves are books that I have saved from my own childhood, which are of more sentimental value to me than anything.

Among my favorites are many Little Golden Books, which I began collecting when I was near the age of six, when copyright dates and publishing companies first piqued my interest.  Others include The Peacock Party and Dean's Fairy Tales, where I was also particularly fascinated by the illustrations.

I must admit, I have never been a fan of Eric Carle's work, even though between my six children we probably have everything he's ever published.  I like the simple illustrations and bright colors, but they are really not my favorite.

But, alas, when we're at a yard sale and my kids come up to me and say "Can I get this?" with a 50¢ book in hand, generally I'm going to say yes.  But, because of this we have ended up with several copies of the same book.  It's not something I really have a problem with though, because they don't have an interest in video games, iPhones, iPods, or anything else like that.  They love to read, every last one of them, and a trip to the library is one of their favorite things.

Recently though, we were going through our books to have our own yard sale and discovered that we have at least two copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. One is a copy I got for the kids from the Children's Book of the Month Club about 12 years ago.

The second copy, I recognized as one we had recently acquired from a yard sale, within the past few years, and immediately prior to an out-of-state move.  So a good portion of the time we've had it, it's been in a box and I vaguely remembered that it had a different feel to it than our other copy.  Other than that I didn't think much of it until I flipped it open to look at the copyright - the habit I'd started when I learned to read.  I remembered that it was definitely an older copy, but I just assumed it was a second edition, because that's often the way it ends up.

I decided to see what Google had to say about our copy, maybe I could get $20 on eBay instead of a quarter for it at the yard sale.  The very first website I clicked was My husband and I sat looking up at the screen, down at the book, and back and forth as we held our breath, realizing that we actually have an extremely rare book sitting right in front of us!

From what we understand, from the website, there is only one other copy that is known to have surfaced over the past several years and it was listed on eBay a year ago.  So, at the moment that's where our book is also sitting… 

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