Back in the Day

By Sara E. Hoffmann, School & Library Series Managing Editor

I adore vintage children’s books. And so today, just for fun, I reached waaay back in the Lerner archives and grabbed this title Lerner published back when its focus was on medical books that explained common ailments to children. (Did you guys know this was how Lerner got its start?)


So many things fascinate me about this book!

1. The subject is mumps. I, for one, know very little about this illness. In fact, I am in much the same boat as this book’s young readers would have been when they stumbled curiously upon Dear Little Mumps Child in a doctor’s waiting room. I had a vague idea that mumps was maybe a little bit like chicken pox. Evidently, it could make your cheeks “swell like a bell.” Now that does not sound fun.


2. The doctor makes house calls! You know you wouldn’t see this in a children’s book today. Also, incredibly, the doctor is a woman. WAY TO GO, LERNER, for showing women in nontraditional roles long before that was a “thing”!


3. The art is charmingly, amazingly, overwhelmingly adorable. The main character’s sweet expression. His little red jacket and pants. The mother’s crisp blouse, skirt, and heels (part of me wishes we still dressed like that). The kiddos in the background peeking out from behind a tree. You guys, I am totally smitten.


I hope you enjoyed today’s blast from the past just as much as I did. There are more charming, 1950s- and ’60s-era Lerner medical books where Dear Little Mumps Child came from!

5 thoughts on “Back in the Day

  1. Jennifer

    I'm currently weeding my juvenile nonfiction section – I have a LOT of Lerner science books from the 80s. I'm refreshing the labels and keeping them – they're still pretty good!

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