22 December 2005

Children's Christmas Annuals

When my mom was growing up in England, she always looked forward to getting an Annual under the Christmas tree. Annuals are still popular today in the U.K. (just do a search at amazon.co.uk for "annuals" to see the variety available) but they are almost unheard of here in Canada. You can actually order the traditional titles through amazon.ca (e.g. Rupert, Beano, Dandy or the Friendship Book) but most bookstores won't have a clue when you ask for them. The exception to this is used bookstores who often have a 1950s Rupert or Beano annual collecting dust in the childrens area.

In the library, we have a large collection of annuals going as far back as the late 1800s. In general, you can expect an annual to contain stories, pictures, puzzles, riddles & jokes, and more recently comics. The bulk of our collection runs from the 1920s through the 1950s though there are some earlier titles and a few later. A notable late entry is the Canadian Children's Annual (warning: webpage appears to use 1996 web technology including spinning logo) published from 1975-1988 -- we have the whole run. Here are a few images of the older ones we have (click for larger views):

boysown parley1885 pip_squeak tigertim1955

I just love the art in these, and some of them are quite collectible. CollectingBooksandMagazines.com has a great (if cluttered) article with images; and there are a few more images over at Fulltable.com.


Ted said...

Odd...I am sure I have seen the Beano and Dandy Annuals in Coles over the last few years. I used to get the Beano Annual every Christmas. I loved the guys who "drove" the human. I think were called the Knuckleheads or something.

Cheryl said...

Really? Hmmm. Will have to check. I have a Muppet Annual from the late 70s... I wonder where that is? I'd be interested if anyone stocked the Rupert Annual. I would totally get that for kiddo next year.

Tim said...

Why are the words "collectors editions" burning on that Children's Annual page? Even in 1996, when, as you point out, this page was apparently constructed, surely a page about books should not have the words "collectors editions" on fire!?!

Cheryl said...

Not a single clue, Tim. It was the only page I found referencing the original press, Potlatch Publications. So apparently the clearing house for the remainders is good enough for Angelfire. Dubious at best, right down to the flaming text.