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This is a set of two books, The Elson Basic Reader Pre-Primer and the Primer.

From at least 1930 until the late 1940s (and into the 1950s in some parts of the Country) your grandparents, and maybe your parents, learned to read by becoming friends with Dick and Jane and Spot and Mew and Mother and Father. And if your parents and grandparents grew up in the Philippine Islands they also likely learned to read from these books, both have a Philippine Island Copyright notice in them.

You’ve probably heard about Dick and Jane, here is a chance to meet and get to know them and their adventures. In the Pre-Primer they have simple adventures; they have Rabbits, they have the wind blowing away their cut-outs, Baby gets lost, and they have grandparents visit. In the Primer, the advancing readers get to meet a host of new people; Bill, Jack, Patty and others, and the adventures are a little more complicated, the dog runs away, they have parties and snow picnics and find bird’s nests and go to the farm and the fair. The illustrations in both of these books are wonderfully charming and very beautiful. Sadly, no illustrator is given credit, a real shame.

Obviously these books are not in like new condition, they were, after all, intended for and used by very young children. The Pre-Primer is a little 40 page paperback so the cover and binding show wear, but all of the pages are present and remarkably tight (the pages were sewn, not glued What a Concept!). There is staining on the bottom of the pages, and of course, some smudges from little hands. The Primer is a 141 page hardback and in beautiful condition. The owner colored in the spot where she was supposed to print her name, but that is the only deliberate mark in the book; it’s actually kind of sweet, she couldn’t print yet, but she sure could color. Again all of the pages are present and un-marked (except for the inevitable childish smudges) although 2 have small tears along the edge. All of the illustrations are complete and unmarked and the colors are crisp and beautiful. Obviously these were used by very careful and obedient children, and lovingly put away and saved by a mother.

I will happily ship internationally but it's difficult to determine a cost until items are packed. If you're interested, please convo me and I will find appropriate shipping material and provide you with a cost.

ELSON BASIC READERS 1930 Pre Primer and Primer


  • Vintage item from the 1930s
  • Material: paper
  • Only ships within United States.
  • Feedback: 392 reviews
  • Favorited by: 5 people