Monday, November 12, 2012

Dick & Jane & the other kid-remembering our old chums!

Who doesn't remember "Dick & Jane", even if it's just as a popular culture memory associated with a vaguely old-fashioned and bucolic view of family life? Dick, Jane, and their generic parents were definitely a product of their time, but that doesn't stop us from appreciating the fact that our old school books were graced with some pretty attractive illustrations. Let's take a look at a few.
Here's our heroes doing what every boy and girl want to do...dressing up and skipping rope with their sister. Safely ensconced behind their white picket fence, Dick and Jane dutifuly help little sister (What was her name....Sally? Suzie? maybe just "sis"?) trip the rope fantasic while being watched by Spot ("the dog"), Puff ("the Cat"), Leroy ("the squirrel") and Stan Musial ("the cardinal"). It looks like the fun never ends until you realize that D & J aren't actually twirling the rope. I guess it's the skipping version of training wheels.
Here's the adult female designated as "Mom" shopping at "the market"...and what a market it is!! Who woudln't want to shop here with all those radiant vegetables cascading out of baskets towards you? The grocer, most likely named "the grocer" or "Food Delivery Technician # 4" looks like your doctor, or at least a Good Humor man. Here he's personally wrapping each individual grape in brown paper for it's perilous trip home, while Jane loads up the shopping basket with the giant economy-sized bottle of suds from the beer & wine aisle.
Farming's a breeze when your animals have learned to assemble themselves by species! Here the farm animals graciously abide by the unwritten farmyard apartheid, with pigs clustering with pigs, chickens keeping company with chickens and sheep looking nervous in the middle of the pack. Dick gets to make friends with "horse", while little sister points to the abattoir located to the right of the picure. Seriously though, I really do love these old illustrations. Even when I first saw these as a kid I knew they were very idealized and unrealistic, but that shuoldn't detract from your enjoyment of them.


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