“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It Goes On.”
Robert Frost

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Golden Almanac . . .

This is one of the cutest books ever! This wonderful book was written by Dorothy Bennett and illustrated by Masha. It was published in  1944 this is the second printing of the book (March 1946). It is in remarkable shape for it's age (66 years).  I listed it in my shop a while back and retook some of the pictures recently. I had to go back and verify the age of the book because I thought the art work looked so modern. In doing so, I decided this book was worthy of a post.

Dorothy Bennett lived and traveled throughout the United States her entire life. At one time she was the Assistant Curator at the American Museum of Natural History. This explains the expert detailing in her explanations and stories within the book. I found it interesting that she had a Minnesota connection, in the bio below I see that she received her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of MN in 1930.

Dorothy Agnes Bennett (1909 -1999), anthropologist, archeologist, astronomer, editor, teacher. Interviewed in 1994by Fauno Cordes. One audiotape and transcript (copyright Society of Women Geographers). BA, University of Minnesota, 1930. Diploma from the Institute of Archaeology in London. Bennett was the senior anthropologist with the Museum of Anthropology, University of California. Director of Epoch at Berkeley. Organized a Junior Astronomy Club at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York. Published the first Star Explorer, a revolving chart displaying more than 500 visible stars. Edited the Golden Books series for children, including the Golden Almanac (1944) and the Golden Nature Guide Books (1950). Astronomy took her to Peru and various locations in the Pacific. Member of the American Astronomy Association, American Archaeological Association, American Mentor Association, honorary member of the Geological Society of Peru, and a Fellow of the American Geological Society. Joined SWG in 1945.*

Masha illustrates the nativity scene for Christmas.
Masha was a mystery illustrator of children's books back in the ’40s.  There is little information about her other than her real name, (Maria Simchow Stern) and that she illustrated the very first Little Golden Book, Three Little Kittens in 1942.  The book jacket gives a little more information about her. Masha's Russian name came from Russian parents, but she was born in the U.S.A. She also illustrated the book Merry Christmas under the name of Natasha Simkhovitch.

The book was obviously cared for very well because it is in very good to excellent condition. It even has it's dust jacket. The author Dorothy Bennett uses the book to guide children through the months and seasons. It contains all sorts of interesting facts and tidbits along the way. The book also includes songs, games and stories.

"From snowflakes to maypoles, from rainbows to baby bears.. The Golden Almanac describes and explains what happens in the world of nature throughout the seasons. It is full of squirrels and scarecrows,maypoles and tadpoles, holidays and famous birthdays."

In the picture above you see an illustration of President Abraham Lincoln on the left and rhymes that accompany the illustrated months on the right. The verse for November and December are apt.

"Dull November brings the blast,
Then the leaves are whirling fast."

"Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire and Christmas treat."

Colorful and fun illustrations.

Meteors, comets, and shooting stars are explained....

As well as the fantasy life of a hedgehog named Spiky.

Halloween by Masha

The holidays are all delightfully illustrated as in the Halloween scene above  and the Christmas skating scene below.

The simple and colorful way she illustrated these books definitely stands the test of time. The action in the illustration above has such life and depth to it. The images draw me in to take a closer look and once there, I get the pleasure of traveling off to a magical place, if only for a moment. 

If you would like the magic to continue, this book is available for sale in my Etsy shop CraveCute. 

              Did I mention I'm shipping to Canada now too?

Have a great weekend!

*notes - taken from the dust jacket of The Golden Almanac
              biography of Dorothy Bennett from  SWG.


  1. Ms. Bennett was clearly a woman of many talents. It's hard to believe that this lovely book dates from the 40's! Masha's colourful illustrations are lovely.

  2. Adorable! And I am stunned that it dates all the way back to the 40s.

  3. Fabulous..what a beautiful book..jam-packed with lots of treasures to enjoy!Always such beautiful shares..wonderful!
    Wishing you a beautiful wkd!

  4. Masha's illustrations do look very modern. They're delightful!

  5. Dear Diane - this book looks neat. Loved Spiky the hedgehog. Isn't it amazing how many wonderful children's books are still floating around that remind us of gentler sweeter times. Take care and have a great day.

  6. It's hard to believe this book is 66 years old! The illustrations are so joyous - simply adorable & such sweet charming faces.

  7. Yeh, you are shipping to Canada ;o) This book is very special! I can't believe it's 66 years old! Wow!!! Have a great day ;o)

    1. Haha! Yes I am, just had another order that I sent UP NORTH yesterday. Get this.. I just did a special request order to Australia! I am branching out! Thanks for all your encouragement!

  8. What a neat book, it looks amazing!


Thank you for leaving a comment! I do read them all and will try to respond if I'm able. Please know that all comments are appreciated, I love to hear your thoughts on my posts! ~ Diane