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Cheap Thrill: North, South, East and West

Ramble alert: last weekend, we took a really fun trip out to the East Valley on Phoenix’s new Light Rail line. Our gleaming train took us from one end of the line to the other. In the middle, we enjoyed a nice lunch at a Chinese restaurant situated in a strip mall at the very end of the line in Mesa. We also earmarked a little time to thrift shop, of course. One of the older thrift stores in town (one that I used to visit regularly as a starving college student) just happened to be right there on the line in Tempe. This particular place is a larger, non-chain establishment filled with the requisite weird customers and shelves upon shelves of junk. Compounding the weirdness is the fact that this is a church-run place chock full of religious castoffs (Jesus themed napkin holders, anyone?).

The books at this place were astonishingly cheap — and it was half price day, too! After rooting through the shelves, I took home a few mid-century illustrated gems that were published for kids. On was a religious paperback containing cartoony images of Biblical figures; another had fables wonderfully illustrated in high ’50s abstraction (unfortunately the illustrator got no name credit at all!). The third neat thing I found was a library castoff from 1966. Franklyn M. Branley’s North, South, East and West was made to teach kids about compass directions. Robert Galster’s playful illustrations grabbed me right away. I scanned a few of them for my Cool Vintage Illustration flickr set. Galster is a bit mysterious to me (there isn’t much on flickr or the web about him), but his renderings of children are really something to behold:

Robert Galster illustration

Robert Galster illustration

Robert Galster illustration

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