Saturday, 25 February 2012

Serendipity Books: Vintage Stories With Morals, Hippy Literature For Kids

The Serendipity books were a huge part of my childhood. Like Aesop’s Fables (had Aesop of been a hippie) these sweet little books with the delightfully groovy drawings brightened my rainy days (or were themselves brightened by a flashlight under the covers as I poured over the illustrations and stories until the wee hours of morning).  A Serendipity books was always on top of my pile of books because I loved looking at the front covers so much, and even from a young age wanted everything to look ‘just so’. More than just being beautiful, every story was set around an animal (mythical or real) learning a lesson which was neatly summarised in a pithy maxim on the front cover, such as “an open mind is the key to conquering all kinds of prejudice” and “cooperation can solve almost any problem”. 

My Serendipity bounty all laid out fancy-like on my dining table.
Even though I got that the books were allegorical (oooooh, big word I barely remember from primary school grammar studies and have never before had the opportunity to use in a real life situation!) fables, I enjoyed the whimsical illustrations and the heart-warming characters so much I cast aside my ‘am I learning something here- is this an educational thing?’ suspicions, and lost myself time and time again in the beautiful worlds created by Stephen Cosgrove and Robin James.

So you can imagine my extreme satisfaction at realising I now have a reason to re-visit the Serendipity characters I loved so (thank you Hunter!), and my delirious spending fuelled joy at thriftily snapping up a whole bunch of good condition vintage titles for $10.

You can buy the books new direct from Robin James' e-store, but for those on a budget (and who isn't?) there are heaps and schneaps on eBay. Since there were over 30 titles in the series you would also have a good chance of finding some at garage sales, LifelineBookfest, second hand book stores and thrift stores. My favourite story was always Dragolin (because dragons ROCK), although if you are looking for a good book to illustrate a specific lesson for a child who needs some ‘encouragement’ that doesn’t involve a lecture or screaming match, you might like to look up the Serendipity wiki page as it lists the ‘moral’ of every book against its title.

Wishing you many 'happy accidents' and 'happy surprises',
Sandi D

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