100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Windowshopping Rare Children’s Lit

Although I amassed sports cards like a hoarder-in-training in my youth, I’m not much of a collector as an adult. My home bookshelves seem to be a bit lacking in the rhyme and reason department. Here’s a taste:

An audio book on the shelf? A table manners guide? The second book in a series, but not the others? I can’t even manage to put all my Roald Dahls together in one place. Maybe one day I’ll get my act together and make some sense of it. Then run an author head shot business using my expertly assembled collection as a backdrop.

Recently, while scouring the internet for first-edition cover images of upcoming Covering the Newbery candidates (which actually proves pretty tricky sometimes) I came across some of the featured titles up for sale at AbeBooks, an online book marketplace. But these aren’t my beloved 113th edition paperbacks, these are the cream of the book-collector crop.

So, with apologies to Peter of Collecting Children’s Books (who’s an actual expert on this topic), let’s all gawk for a moment.

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss – $24,200.00

Yes, that price is accurate. That’s what it costs for a signed first edition of this classic in incredible condition (oh, and a sketch by the master to boot).

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman – $16,100.00

The price on this book, which you might know better by it’s US version title, The Golden Compass, blew me away. Mostly because, published in 1995, it’s so recent. I love that cover.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl – $4,090.41

There’s a copy of this book on the site going for $10,000.00, but no picture. Another nice-looking book. And speaking of Dahl…

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – $10,000.00

A signed first edition of the classic.

Just So Stories for Little Children by Rudyard Kipling – $36,000.00

This one has added collector appeal due to a number of unique elements and inscriptions by the author. It’s amazing this book has survived 110 years in this pristine state. Very cool to see.

Alright. Gawking concluded.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. No way. That’s the edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory I have. Hmmm…college tuition dent, anyone?

  2. Katie, much depends on your signature-forging skills.