Puss in Boots

The term old school may bring back memories of shouldered boomboxes and oversized jackets, but this list of old school reads will take you on a blast from the past. Throwbacks from the 1990s? More like catapult-backs from the 1890s.

These books can be found at our very own University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries. In the Department of Special Collections, the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature is a result of Ruth Baldwin’s 40-year-long search and compilation.

Her collection contains more than 100,000 published volumes from the mid-1600s and beyond. It is also the second largest collection in the United States of early-American imprints, according to UF George A. Smathers Libraries.

See for yourself that the collection is bigger than MC Hammer’s metallic parachute pants. Maybe you’ll find more of your childhood along the way!

Here are my picks:

The 3 Little Kittens

Published: 1890 by McLoughlin Bros. in New York

Hasn’t everyone heard about the three little kittens that lost their mittens? Reading this story to the young may have sparked the present day cat craze all over Tumblr and YouTube.

5 Little Pigs

Published: 1890 by McLoughlin Bros. in New York

Apparently there’s a little more than “this little piggy went to the market, this little piggy stayed home….” A whopping 10 pages of it. You’re going to need more toes for this one.

Around the World in Eighty Days

Published: 1873 by Pierre-Jules Hetzel from France

That’s right! “Around the World in Eighty Days” isn’t only a movie featuring Jackie Chan. It’s a literary adventure! Travel the globe, all while sitting in your computer chair.

Hey Diddle Diddle

Published: 1880 by Frederick Warne & Co. in London

Please don’t tell me I was the only child scandalized when the Dish ran away with the Spoon. And who knew this little rhyme came from more than 20 pages of prose?

Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Published: 1875 Frederick Warne & Co. in London and New York

To this day, I still cannot watch Disney’s rendition of this piece without curling fearfully into the corner of my couch. Poor Ichabod. If you’re feeling courageous, be sure to read this treasure. Just in time for the Halloween season.

Puss in Boots

Published: 1880 by Frederick Warne & Co. and Scribner, Welford, & Armstrong in London and New York

Did you fall in love with this charming, little guy from Dreamworks Animation’s “Shrek”? Or are you just obsessed with cats in general? You can has this wonderful FURRY tail and learn more about this LOL cat’s story.

Rain, Rain Go Away

Published: 1898 by Raphael Tuck & Sons in London and New York

If you’ve never heard of this poem, you’ve lived under a rock 300,000 feet below the surface and on the planet Jupiter. Enjoy “Rain, Rain, Go Away” in its entirety — complete with illustrations!