With the end of preschool approaching, I've been stockpiling some craft and toy and art projects to keep the kid busy. At the flea market today, we scored a couple of pristine, c. 1960 activity books from Whitman Publishing of Racine, Wisconsin.
Whitman was an imprint of Western Publishing, the company which created Little Golden Books, and which published tons of comics with characters under license with Warner Brothers, Disney, and a whole host of others. Western and Whitman and Golden Books were run through the corporate takeover wringer for most of the last 25 years; Whitman is now the renamed coin collecting publishing subsidiary of whatever after whatever else sold it to them in 2003.
So there's no corporate way to figure out which of the multitudes of artists Western worked with created the classically sweet Children of The World paper doll set, or this frankly awesome punch-out race car book, Crazy Racers That Go-Go-Go!.
Supposedly, all you do is add spools, paper clips and rubber bands, and you've got yourself a freakin' papercraft Ben Hur guest-starring Tomi Ungerer. We'll see.
Or you can, too. I scanned the pages and uploaded them to flickr, so you and your kid can try and craft your own spool-driven hot rods from several corporate lifetimes ago.