a peek inside the fishbowl

27 Nov, 2006

Vintage children’s illustrations: portrayal of a typical mom?

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Thrifty is nifty|Oh! Things!

I picked up this book for about a quarter at a local thrift shop. If I had stopped at the cover I would have given it a pass.

It’s called “My Clock Book” and the cover illustration is an uninspired 1970’s sketch of children gathered around a pile of clocks.

“Originally entititled WHAT TIME IS IT?” is written near the bottom of the cover. This is what caught my eye. I pulled it off the shelf and flipped it open. It all became clear. The publisher took the 1954 version of “What time is it”, changed the title (what was wrong with the old one?) and plunked an updated cover on it. But the illustrations inside remained the same. Budget troubles, perhaps? I don’t know, but they’re all like this:

Illo from My Clock Book

The quality of illustration in these old books is wonderful. There is a certain innocence I really like. Books like this are like a time capsule of society’s expectations, aren’t they? I mean, how many moms are out shopping at 10:00 a.m … dressed to the nines (in heels!), rosy-cheeked and beaming with love and patience for their adoring children?

Ha. I love it.


2 Responses to "Vintage children’s illustrations: portrayal of a typical mom?"

1 | Marla

November 27th, 2006 at 10:54 am


She is only happy because she is about to bonk her smarmy son on the head with that piece of fruit. He knows it’s coming. Look at him. It’s happened before.

2 | Anna

November 27th, 2006 at 3:10 pm


I’ve got these photos of my mom when I was just born. She’s dressed like Jackie O, pill-box hat, gloves and little tweeds suit…pushing the pram! You guess it right, those were the days before the 70’ies kicked in. And also the days before yoga pants and lattes.

Sometimes if I’m having a “can barely pull myself together day”, I think of my mom in 1966. ;-)


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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark. We have two daughters: Emma (19) and Sarah (17). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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