11/2/12

Manners and claytoonist LOWELL GRANT


This is an odd and interesting little children’s book I bought decades ago at Castle Books on the old Burbank mall. It was a great store and, as you can see by the label on the cover (50 cents), they had good prices. I have no idea if the store exists anymore.


Cover, front and back. Click on image to see it larger.

There’s a lot of information on the title page, but not much online. I cannot find anything about the Sass-Dorne Studio or illustrator Isabel Phillips. I did find out a bit about "claytoonist" Lowell Grant. I can also tell you there were five other books in this series besides Manners (published in 1943): Safety; Cleanliness; Kindness to Pets; Obedience; Going to Bed (and here).



The book, written in rhyme, teaches children proper manners. I do not remember these little characters, Mr. Do & Don’t, from my childhood. I recall the Goops being the ones who tried to teach me manners. To this day if I put my elbows on the table I’m convinced everyone is staring and thinking, “What a goop!”




Illustration by Isabel Phillips. Click on image to see it larger.

Leave it to the net to provided me with just enough information to make me look at this book from a different perspective, all due to the man who created the little characters of Mr. Do and Don’t. The sculptor was Lowell Grant.










Click on any image to see it larger.

I have not found anything definitive about “claytoonist Lowell Grant,” but I have found information about a Los Angeles based sculptor named Lowell Grant, and it’s very sad. According to the site filmforno.com (here and here) , Lowell Grant lived in Echo Park. He did sculptures for the Vincent Price movie Diary of a Madman. He also did work that was in collections all over the country such as churches, libraries, banks, and public buildings. Alas, Lowell Grant died in the 1970s when the kiln in his home blew up killing him and burning down the house. Apparently all that is left is the foundation which can be seen here. The site was used in a movie called Mi Vida Loca.

This book has been on my shelf for decades and I never took the time to do any research. Now when I do I look for information it ends with a sad story. I can’t be positive that the man who did these book illustrations is the same man who died in the explosion and fire, but I think it’s plausible.

4 comments:

  1. Wow! Seeing Mr. Do & Mr. Don't took me back to grandma's house. This was one of my favorite books that was in grandma's toy box. I know, strange place for a book. I believe this book is sitting in my cedar chest back home in Idaho.

    Thanks for posting this!

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    1. So glad to have been able to bring back some memories.

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  2. Castle Books is long gone. I was a customer too.

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    1. That's what I figured. It's sad it's gone.

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