Cambrian Cuties: Science Lessons from 1942

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The only thing better than a well-stocked used book sale is a well-stocked used book sale with a free bin. After buying my fair share of gorgeous volumes at a local like-new literary extravaganza this weekend, I stopped by a table of unwanted scraps and paperbacks, ready to glean to my heart’s content.

It’s appropriate that I had to basically excavate my way through the Burgess Shale of coffee-stained romance novels and old sheet music to find this incredible treasure: a natural history book for kids from 1942. As a girl who loves vintage children’s illustrations as much as she loves Tiktaalik, I am delighted by this rare opportunity to peek back a few decades–and aeons!

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The title page immediately lets us know that this is a book of Real Science–thank you, Carroll Lane Fenton, for your commitment to academic accuracy!

One of the book’s previous owners (presumably “Davis,” who wrote his name on the cover) extended the useful timeline graphic into the margin. These annotations, however, are nothing compared to the overall damage to the cover and the binding. Because it’s in such bad condition, I am genuinely considering upcycling its illustrations into letters/more permanent craft projects, thereby giving this poor book a second life. What do you think, fellow crafters?

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I mean, just look at these illustrations! They’re incredible!

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Butterflies and pterosaurs in the same book…be still, my heart!

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And how could I resist closing with an ancient cephalopod shell? (You may already know that Cephalopoda is my favorite taxonomic class.)

What’s the most interesting treasure you’ve ever found in a free bin? Mine was certainly worth the excavation!

One thought on “Cambrian Cuties: Science Lessons from 1942

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