Monday, 27 July 2015

Guest Post by Marcia Strykowski

Hi! It is my pleasure to do a guest post for this amazing blog. I've long enjoyed seeing the many March House vintage and antique books posts and would love to share a few books from my own collection.

I've always lived in New England and from the time I was small, I've had a special connection with books. I like the look, feel, and smell of them, as much as the stories they hold.

Years ago, in the next town over from us, there was a used book shop. I remember what a treat it was to dig through the old books with hopes of finding an extraordinary story to bring home. If the book was in good condition with all its pages intact—all the better.

One gold-star day I found a whole series of classics (Hans Brinker, Pinocchio, etc.) for a grand total of $2 (25 cents each). I still have that set of blue books to this day. Other books from those special shopping trips are shown here.

I guess it makes sense that I grew up wanting to write my own stories. Eventually I did just that. Using vivid memories from my childhood of where my grandparents lived on the coast of Maine, I created Port Wells. My main character, thirteen-year-old Amy, lives in this tiny fishing village during 1973. 

In 2014, Call Me Amy was selected for Bank Street College of Education’s prestigious list of best books for children. Amy’s Choice, the sequel to Call Me Amy, was published soon after. These clean tween novels are great for all ages and feature an adorable seal pup among their cast.

To find out more about my books, please join me on
Thank you, and many thanks to Barbara for her inspiration and dedication to children’s books!

Thank you so much Marcia.  I understand why you treasure the Laura Lee Hope books apart from anything else the covers are beautiful. Five Little Peppers is completely new to me.  Thank you for sharing all the Images and for telling us about the Amy books.

Please call in at if you have the time, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.  

If you would like to guest post on this blog, please send me a note via the ‘email me’ button on the right. 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Onwards and Upwards

My goodness the last two weeks have simply flown past. Books and ephemeral items are selling at such a rate I’m having trouble keeping up. Thank you to everyone for the numerous messages of support and love. Thank you for the orders, the cards and the sweet words.  I thought March House Books would be missed by a few people now I know it will be missed by many.  The doors will be closing for good on the 31st July 2015, so if there is something you want don't delay.

I visited the flea market at the Bath and West showground today and came home with these. 

I promised Terry I would look and not buy but how could I resist these treasures? Some will go into my collection (how could I sell the Muffin the Mule Christmas card?) and others will be listed on eBay.  I might keep a couple of the Little Grey Rabbit books too. 

Last weekend we visited the annual St. John's Church Fete at Milborne Port

One of the most popular attractions was the 'human fruit machine' 

The book stall was doing a brisk trade
According to the local paper, over 200 people attended and between them raised more than £2,000 towards the upkeep of the church. Pretty impressive considering the fete was competing with Yeovilton air Day and Wimbledon. 

I'm toying with the idea of modifying/changing the name of my blog.  My cousin John came up with March of Time Books which I really like but what do you think?

I read a great quote on Facebook a couple of days ago... If a door closes, open it, that’s what doors are for!

Have a wonderful week  

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

All Change Here ...

I've made a decision – quite a big decision as it happens, and I wanted you to be the first to know.  (Drum roll...)  I’m retiring BUT let me just elaborate a little. Books and I are inseparable and will never retire from one another completely, but I am, reluctantly, closing March House Books.  Everything is reduced by 65% at the moment so there has never been a better time to buy.  Just follow this link to browse all the treasure.

One of the big influences behind my decision is my health, which has been a little wearying of late. I’ve been undergoing all kinds of treatments for Osteoporosis (brittle bones). When it was first diagnosed nine years ago I was put on a course of medication followed by yearly infusions at the hospital but with no discernible improvement. As I write this, I’m several months into a new regime of daily injections, plus walking, Pilates and Tai Chi. I would like to say I’m enjoying it all, but that would be a slight exaggeration.  I do enjoy the walking and the Pilates. I'm not so sure about the Tai Chi, and the injections are something else altogether!!  But the biggest drawback is the time it all takes, time I used to spend buying and listing wonderful vintage stock.  I've always been happy and proud of March House Books, and I want to close it on a high.

I started this post by saying I would never retire from books, and that is perfectly true – I will continue to collect, buy and sell books, but my new marketplace will be eBay. Just making that simple change will save all the costs associated with PCI compliance, credit card processing, business insurance, ridiculously high bank charges and all the other things that go hand in hand with running a business. Another plus for eBay is I can do just as much or as little as I want without the constant pressure of finding new stock.

This blog will continue but in a slightly different form.  I hope to make it a space for collectors with posts about books old and new and other interesting things. If you would like to contribute a post about a hobby or a collection, a favourite book, or your latest venture please let me know.

If you are still reading this – and I wouldn't blame you if you gave up several paragraphs ago – I would like to thank you all for your friendship and support.  I will still be here and I will still be visiting all your blogs. I may not post every week but you can be sure I will be posting as often as I can. 

Now for the good news - our lovely Australian family are visiting us for six weeks over the Christmas and New Year period! We are so excited and can’t wait to see them.  We have several outings and trips planned, and I will enjoy sharing them with you in 2016.

Thanks to everyone for the comments left on this post, I will be along to answer them just as soon as I can.  The sale is going far better than I ever expected so I am pretty busy at the moment.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The Telegraph Bath Children’s Literature Festival is back!

There has never been a better time to visit the beautiful and unique city of Bath! The Festival runs from Friday 25 September – Sunday 4 October 2015.

Julia Donaldson, Cressida Cowell, Jacqueline Wilson,
Michael Rosen, Judith Kerr, Francesca Simon, Axel Scheffler,
Frank Cottrell Boyce, Floella Benjamin, Julian Clary,
Helen Skelton, Sam & Mark, Andy Day
and new Waterstones 2015-2017 Children’s Laureate
Chris Riddell

The Telegraph Bath Children’s Literature Festival, the largest dedicated children’s book festival in the UK, is now in its 9th spectacular year.  This is a festival bursting at the seams with vibrant activity for children of all ages, their families and friends.

Bath Festivals brings leading international performers, writers and thinkers to Bath every year to inspire, entertain and challenge audiences of all ages and artistic tastes.  The festivals champion diversity and collaboration, open people's minds, and showcase the work of both established and up-and-coming performers, all in the special setting that is Bath: a World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. 

The full programme is available to view online at

Have fun!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Dear Maudie, Doesn’t the tempus seem to fugit?

Postcards from my collection;

A set of six postcards sent from Charlie to Maudie during February and March 1904. You may remember a previous post about Charlie and Maudie here

Dear Maudie, I'm sure this sweet set will please you. très bon! With love Charlie

Dear Maudie, only 7 weeks to Easter!!! It’s pouring with rain again and I’ve been playing all the funeral marches I’ve got to cheer me up. It seems like sacrilege to play anything more lively in Godalming. Metcalf has just started on an eight mile tramp through the mud, so we’re all happy. Adieu pour joyous! Charlie. 

Dearest Maudie, I was quite overwhelmed with gratitude to receive such a beautiful card from you this week. It’s too kind of you and I shall never forget it. (You don’t mind me mentioning that I had that one already, do you?) Easter is getting nearer and nearer. Doesn’t the tempus seem to fugit?  Metcalf went to a dance last week he can’t dance, so he wallflowered and talked scandal with all the other old women. With love, Charlie.

Dear Maudie, the C. M. will do very well, thank you. I haven’t quite decided yet what I shall send you when this set is finished. I’m not going out at all on Monday, as I’m sure to be in great demand. Who is the luckless wight you mean to fix? Love Charlie. 

Dear Maudie, only four weeks to Easter! I suppose it wasn't you who wrote to Metcalf on the 29th? He didn't have a chance of accepting, as he could not recognise the writing. Isn't the weather simply lovely? With Love Charlie. 

Dear Maudie, this is the last of this sweet set. How quickly the time does go, doesn't it? With love, Charlie.

I purchased these six postcards, and the previously featured set from an auction.  I've often wondered about Charlie and Maudie and decided to see if I could find out anything about them.  If you would like to know more, please pop over to my family history blog here  (You will need to scroll down the post to read the rest of the story) 

Thanks for spending some time with Maudie, Charlie and me...

Monday, 15 June 2015

Telling Tales

Tale - A fictitious or true narrative or story, especially one that is imaginatively recounted: 
‘a delightful children’s tale’
‘tales of witches and warlocks’

 Definition from the English Oxford dictionary.


The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a collection of stories written for young wizards and witches. They were popular bedtime stories for centuries, with the result that The Wizard and the Hopping Pot and The Fountain of Fair Fortune were as familiar to many of the students at Hogwarts as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are to Muggles. 

In 2007, one of only seven original handwritten copies was offered for auction through Sotheby’s selling for £1.95 million. Sadly, I don’t have one of the handwritten editions, but I do have a first printed edition which I’m offering together with an original catalogue from the Sotheby’s auction.  The Tales of Beedle the Bard is now sold, thank you for your interest.

The shelves at March House Books have lots of other tales to tell, here are just a few of them;

Uncle's Tales Published by Thomas Nelson c1928. A collection of eight tales including The Fairy Muffin Man by Phyllis Megroz with illustrations by A. H. Watson and Tommy and the gingerbread by Evelyn Hardy with illustrations by Honor C Appleton. Colour frontis and approximately thirty seven black-and-white  pictures by various illustrators including Florence Mary Anderson. Uncle's Tales is now sold, thank you for your interest.

Grandad's Tales : Favourite Stories and Rhymes written by Eddie Clarke with illustrations by Vin Mifsud.

A treasure chest full of delightful tales. First story My Magic Yellow Chair, other stories Include Giant Mountain and Queenie the Collie.  

Sleeping Beauty & Other Favourite Fairy Tales selected by Angela Carter and illustrated by Michael Foreman. London Victor Gollancz 1991. Several tales including Little Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots, Bluebeard, Donkey-skin and Cinderella.  

Tales of Babar told by Enid Blyton. Methuen Modern Classics Series. First published in September 1942 this a second edition 1945. Tales of Babar told by Enid Blyton with black-and-white illustrations by Olive F. Openshaw.  The life-story of Babar the most lovable of elephants. Editors note - Enemy Action during the War reduced to ashes a large proportion of those delightfully coloured sheets in which the genius of Jean de Brunhoff, and the skill of the colour-printer had combined to immortalize his career. However, Babar is not easy to blitz. In the Babar story-book, he returns triumphant and with a full-length biography by Miss Enid Blyton. This volume comprises the first half of the Babar story-book with three stories - the story of Babar, Babar's travels and Babar the King.  

Old Fashioned Tales selected by E. V. Lucas and illustrated by F. D. Bedford. Published by Wells Gardner Darton & Co Ltd c1905. Compilation including the Inquisitive girl, the Robbers Cave, the Misses, the Sea Voyage, the Changeling and the Oyster Patties. 

Enid Blyton's Treasury of Tales; Four books in slipcase. The stories are Hoo Hoo's party, My nut I think, What no cheese and the wizard's needle each illustrated by Rene Cloke.

Tales from the Story-Teller's House by Thornton W. Burgess Published by John Lane The Bodley Head in 1937. Sixteen stories including the Joy of the Beautiful Pine, It Really Happened, the Old House, Cold Toes and a new tail, Mrs. Possum's big Pocket and Fussy Folk. Eight full-page  colour illustrations by Lemuel Palmer. Tales from the story-teller's house is now sold, thank you for your interest.

I hope you've enjoyed these tall tales. 
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