Cricket Magazine: January 1976, Volume 3, Number 5
If you follow me on Twitter, you may already know that I had an eBay Freakout recently.
If not: Sooooo... I had an eBay Freakout recently.
I've been buying old issues of Cricket magazine. AND I CAN'T. STOP.
I EVEN MADE A SPREADSHEET TO TRACK WHICH ONES I'M MISSING WHO EVEN AM I OMG THE HUMANITY
Ahem. Sorry about that. Anyway, they've been such an utter joy to go through that obviously I felt that I should share.
If you're not familiar with Cricket, it's a children's literary magazine. Short stories—sometimes serialized over a few issues—and nonfiction and poetry and how-tos and cartoons and a crossword puzzle and letters to the editor and writing and art contests, it has it all.
Including running commentary, vocabulary help, and an issue-wide adventure with everybuggy in the margins:
Early Cricket, in particular, is a who's-who of children's literature: In this issue, Trina Schart Hyman was the Art Director, and Lloyd Alexander, Eleanor Cameron, and Isaac Bashevis Singer were all on the Editorial Board. And you'll see some familiar names in the table of contents—which is a work of art unto itself—too:
I mean. It's almost ridiculous. Daniel Pinkwater and Mary Norton and Eleanor Cameron and Jane Yolen? In one issue? And the contents doesn't even list all of the different illustrators who contributed? FOR INSTANCE, OH LOOK, IT'S EDWARD GOREY:
Is this not the most late-70s illustration to have ever late-70s?
From the Letterbox: A letter from 12-year-old Diane Rubenstein from Athens, West Virginia, who was clearly Ahead Of Her Time: "I like to think of sentences with words that are also letters, such as I C U and R U O K."
From Blue Moose, by Manus Pinkwater (this whole story is a TREASURE, OMG):
Mr. Breton filled a bowl with creamy clam chowder and set it on the floor. The moose dipped his big nose into the bowl and snuffled up the chowder. He made sort of a slurping, whistling noise.
"Sir," the moose said, "this is wonderful clam chowder."
Mr. Breton blushed a very deep red. "Do you really mean that?"
"Sir," the moose said, "I have eaten some very good chowder in my time, but yours is the very best."
Paul's Tale, by Mary Norton: THIS STORY IS CREEPY AS ALL GET-OUT, GOOD LORD. It's a little bit Princess Bride framing story, a little bit sociopathy of small children. I don't see it available for sale on its own, but it appears to be included in this late Borrowers volume.
From Meet Your Author: Mary Norton: A great well-we-don't-see-that-anymore-70s-moment, in which Mary Norton lists her Special Vice simply as "Smoking."
From a piece about the Brontë siblings called A Web of Sunny Air, by Eleanor Cameron:
But how do we know exactly what the girls and Branwell imagine? We know because Branwell writes it all down in a book he calls The History of the Young Men from Their First Settlement to the Present Time. It is the only book of his that is ever published.
LOLOLOL, as a friend recently pointed out, the Best Burns are the True Burns. Cameron goes on to recommend a book ABOUT the imagined later life of the Brontës' wooden soldiers called The Return of the Twelves by Pauline Clarke. OBVIOUSLY I put in an ILL request for it.
From eight-year-old Craig Sauerwalt's winning entry into the story contest—in which contestants were directed to write the continuing adventures of a couple of possums—another very 70s moment that very clearly shows how the news cycle imprints itself into kids' minds:
They walked for many days through Asia and Vietnam. There was a war in Vietnam and Burton heard some missiles coming. As they jumped out of the way, he said to Dudley, "We better split before we get drafted."
After one year of walking and floating through many countries, Burton turned to Dudley and said, "I'm bushed, let's go home by Up Up and Away, TWA."
You're probably thinking, Yeesh, Leila, that is a LOT of highlights for one issue of one magazine!
Welp, what can I say? THAT'S CRICKET FOR YOU.
AND THERE'S WAY MORE WHERE THIS CAME FROM: