(Originally posted at http://joelnoche.multiply.com/journal/item/31/Dick-and-Jane on December 7, 2010 9:36 AM)
I did not grow up with Dick and Jane. (I was more of a Dr. Seuss kid.) Believe it or not, the first time I ever read a Dick and Jane story was a few months ago when I bought the book Growing Up with Dick and Jane (New York: Collins Publishers, 1996) at a BOOKSALE outlet. The book is supposed to contain a small booklet (a sampler of original stories) and cutout dolls of Dick and Jane, but my copy only had the booklet. The book basically provides a context for the Dick and Jane series of reading books. The series started in 1927, during America’s Great Depression, and ended with the 1965 editions being sold until 1970. One of my most favorite lines in the book is on page 26:
Jane is smart in the way little girls were supposed to be smart in the 1950s, when boys could be boys, but girls had to be girls.
Another line that struck me is on page 102, where the authors discuss how changes in American society in the 1960’s led to changes in the series:
Father drove his big car over Sally’s little toy horse and crushed it in half.