The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt

Bits of material, a faded pressed rose, ticket stubs – memorabilia that instantly trigger an emotion.  Perhaps you have a scrapbook full of old pieces of your life that you reopen now and then.

In The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, Caroline Preston reveals her heroine’s life and the nineteen twenties era she lived through – with postcards, snips of old catalog ads, graduation announcements, candy wrappers, and more.

Who says you can’t tell a story without words?  Frankie’s high school graduation gifts are a scrapbook and her dead father’s Smith Corona typewriter; her dream is to become a writer.  As she grows from  “smartest girl in her class” to editor in a Paris magazine, Preston uses pictures – scraps actually – with captions to tell her story:

  • a seductive love affair with an older man that leads to a scholarship at Vassar,
  • her post-college apartment in Greenwich Village from the recommendation of Edna St. Vincent Millay (a fellow alum),
  • an escape from unrequited love that sends her to Paris and an apartment over the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore of James Joyce, and an old flame rekindled –
  • until finally returning home to nurse her mother from tuberculosis and finding true love “in her own back yard.”

As Preston reveals Frankie’s coming of age tale, she offers full-page collages that include fashion, furniture, vintage ads, photos and sketches from the twenties with a sprinkling of short dialogue at appropriate junctures.

A romantic tale full of history and nostalgia – a picture book for adults.

Look inside The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt at Preston’s website – here

Click, Clack, Moo – Cows That Type

Does anyone type on a typewriter any more?

Doreen Cronin’s delightful children’s book – Click, Clack, Moo-Cows That Type – was outdated by the time it was published in 2000, but it is a testament to the power of the written word in these days of leaving electronic messages.  With art by Betsy Lewin, Cronin’s picture book has literate cows and chickens with demands for better living conditions written to Farmer Brown in typed notes.  With the duck as the mediator, all ends well – with a funny twist at the end.  Adults will appreciate the innuendo; children will like the whimsy – and might have a few questions about that vintage relic that has been replaced by a computer keyboard.

Typewriters offer nostalgia and a little magic to the final product – but not always.  David Sedaris only recently converted to a Mac for convenience – not for the ease of the keys, but for the ease of getting through airport security.

“When forced to leave my house for an extended period of time, I take my typewriter with me, and together we endure the wretchedness of passing through the X-ray scanner. The laptops roll merrily down the belt, while I’m instructed to stand aside and open my bag. To me it seems like a normal enough thing to be carrying, but the typewriter’s declining popularity arouses suspicion and I wind up eliciting the sort of reaction one might expect when traveling with a cannon.

It’s a typewriter,’ I say. ‘You use it to write angry letters to airport security.” David Sedaris

I still fondly remember my first typewriter, and my satisfaction as I slammed the carriage into the next line.

Related Review:

Read a review of Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk –here