Book Bargains From CHARITY SHOPS

Where do you buy your books on folktales, fairy tales, nursery rhymes and riddles?

I have often been delightfully surprised and rewarded when visiting charity shops. They nearly all have bookshelves full of discarded children’s books (children grow up and leave home). Not only children’s books of course, two years ago I bought a copy of Idries Shah’s, "The Pleasantries of the Incomparable Mullah Nasrudin. for £1.50.( are currently offering it for less than $12.00, by the way!)

In 1996, I picked up a hardback copy of Washington Irving’s, “Rip Van Winkle”. It was in good condition and cost me £2.00. The attraction was the 16 full colour plate illustrations by Arthur Rackham!*

But by charity shop standards, they were expensive! Often, paperbacks cost less than a pound. Most of my collection of children’s anthologies by Sara and Stephen Corrin were bought from charity shops – “Stories for Six Year Olds”, “Stories for Seven Year Olds”, “Stories for Eight Year Olds”, etc. - and cost 60 pence each. I found a hardback copy (complete with dust jacket) of “Imagine That!” edited by the same couple for £1.00.

One of my best buys from a charity shop has to be a paperback copy of"The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes." , edited by Iona and Peter Opie. If you have not seen this, try and get a copy. It is packed full of nursery rhymes (obviously!), complete with historical notes, derivations and variations. Fascinating stuff! The book also contains many riddles! I found it in a charity bookshop in Largs, on the Ayrshire coast. It was priced at – wait for it – 50pence($1.25)! 467 pages of pure gold for just 50pence! I gave the lady in charge of the shop £2.00.($4.50) She was overwhelmed with gratitude at my generosity but I left with a feeling that I had just mugged her!

I recently checked the price at They have a second hand copy for $25.00. Barnes & have a hardback copy on sale for $44.00. Both prices are good value for a great book, but mine was only 50pence in a charity shop.
The message is clear! Never pass a charity shop without glancing through its bookshelves – You never know what treasures you may find and you are of course helping worthwhile charities at the same time.

*If, like me, you are an Arthur Rackham devotee, you may like to know that are advertising a comprehensive selection of books illustrated by the great man. Check them out.

Out of Print Book Sales