Honey Bunch

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The Honey Bunch series of books were part of the Stratemeyer Syndicate's production of 20th century children's books featuring adventurous youngsters, which included the series Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and the Bobbsey Twins.[1] This series was written under the pseudonym Helen Louise Thorndyke, and published for most of its duration by Grosset & Dunlap. The series began in 1923 and chronicled a young girl named Honey Bunch on her various trips and adventures.[2]

Chronology of the Series[edit]

The first sixteen volumes were written by Josephine Lawrence:

  1. Honey Bunch: Just a Little Girl, 1923
  2. Honey Bunch: Her First Visit to the City, 1923
  3. Honey Bunch: Her First Days on the Farm, 1923
  4. Honey Bunch: Her First Visit to the Seashore, 1924
  5. Honey Bunch: Her First Little Garden, 1924
  6. Honey Bunch: Her First Days in Camp, 1925
  7. Honey Bunch: Her First Auto Tour, 1926
  8. Honey Bunch: Her First Trip on the Ocean, 1927
  9. Honey Bunch: Her First Trip West, 1927
  10. Honey Bunch: Her First Summer on an Island, 1928
  11. Honey Bunch: Her First Trip on the Great Lakes, 1930
  12. Honey Bunch: Her First Trip in an Airplane, 1931
  13. Honey Bunch: Her First Visit to the Zoo, 1932
  14. Honey Bunch: Her First Big Adventure, 1933
  15. Honey Bunch: Her First Big Parade, 1934
  16. Honey Bunch: Her First Little Mystery, 1935
  17. Honey Bunch: Her First Little Circus, 1936

Series books were at times perceived as being poor quality children's literature. Honey Bunch volumes 1 and 2 were among a set of books that school librarians eliminated from reading lists in the 1920s, after determining that they had low literary value.[3]

Mildred Wirt Benson, who is best known for writing many of the first Nancy Drew books, wrote five books in this series:[4]

18. Honey Bunch: Her First Little Treasure Hunt, 1937
19. Honey Bunch: Her First Little Club, 1938
20. Honey Bunch: Her First Trip in a Trailer, 1939
21. Honey Bunch: Her First Trip to a Big Fair, 1940
22. Honey Bunch: Her First Twin Playmates, 1941

And the series continues into a third and fourth decade:

23. Honey Bunch: Her First Costume Party, 1942
24. Honey Bunch: Her First Trip on a House Boat, 1943
25. Honey Bunch: Her First Winter at Snowtop, 1944
26. Honey Bunch: Her First Trip to the Big Woods, 1947
27. Honey Bunch: Her First Little Pet Show, 1948
28. Honey Bunch: Her First Trip to a Lighthouse, 1949
29. Honey Bunch: Her First Visit to a Pony Ranch, 1950
30. Honey Bunch: Her First Tour of Toy Town, 1951
31. Honey Bunch: Her First Visit to Puppyland, 1952
32. Honey Bunch: Her First Trip to Reindeer Farm, 1953

The original series consisted of 34 books (with the 34th being published in 1955), although for the final two books, the original title was changed from just "Honey Bunch" to "Honey Bunch and Norman", signaling the shift the series would take to attempt to appeal to both sexes.

The 35th book was listed in the back of #34 as Honey Bunch and Norman Visit Cocoa Land. This book was never released, however, although the manuscript of it is in the New York Public Library archives.[5]

In 1957 the series was re-vamped with a new title starting off the new Honey Bunch and Norman series. As would also be done later by the Syndicate with the Dana Girls series, recent titles in the original series were recycled throughout the beginning of the new series. For example, Honey Bunch and Norman on Lighthouse Island, was first published in 1949 as Honey Bunch: Her First Trip to a Lighthouse, and Honey Bunch and Norman Visit Reindeer Farm 1958 was first published in 1953 as Honey Bunch: Her First Trip to Reindeer Farm. [6]

The final book of the Honey Bunch and Norman series was published in 1963, Honey Bunch and Norman and the Walnut Tree Mystery #12. This may be the last Stratemeyer Syndicate book to be published with a dust jacket, as most of the other Syndicate series seemed to phase them out by 1962. There is a manuscript for the unpublished 13th book, The Wooden Shoe Mystery, at the New York Public Library

Cover Designs[edit]

Although the final book was published in 1963, the books remained in print for several years, though in the picture cover format, as Grosset & Dunlap had completely switched their line of series over from wrap around dust covers to picture covers.[7] It is believed that all 12 books were published in picture cover format. In the 1960s, Grosset & Dunlap had decided, for example with the Judy Bolton series and Connie Blair, not to republish select titles in picture cover format. It is possible this was done with the Honey Bunch and Norman series. Picture cover versions tend to be more difficult to find for this series since more copies were printed with dust jackets.

The first 12 books originally had individual cover art for each book by Walter S. Rogers, who was active with several Syndicate Series of the 1910s-1930s (The Bobbsey Twins and Hardy Boys for example). Marie Schubert took over with book 13, in a more modern fashion than Rogers had done. The Syndicate was moving toward more progressive artwork during this period throughout its popular series. Schubert continued until book 23 or 24 (book 24's cover illustration is unsigned). Book 24 also saw the end of individual cover-artwork, until the series was re-vamped in 1957. From book 25 on, Harry Lane is credited with the cover illustration. The previous books were also re-issued with the new, uniform artwork. Harry Lane's artwork was retired with book 32 of the original series. The correct 31st book, Honey Bunch: Her First Visit to Puppyland, was published in 1952. This book is extremely hard to find. There are 32 Honey Bunch books and 12 Honey Bunch and Norman books. When the series was re-vamped in 1957, individual cover illustrations were returned.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Peter A. Soderbergh. 1974. The Stratemeyer Strain: Educators the Juvenile Series Book, 1900-1973. The Journal of Popular Culture VII(4). 864–872.
  2. ^ Bobbie Ann Mason, The Girl Sleuth, 1975, Feminist Press.
  3. ^ Carelton Washburne and Mabel Vogel. 1927. Supplement to the Winnetka Graded Book List, The Elementary English Review, Vol. 4, No. 2 (FEBRUARY 1927), pp. 47-52.
  4. ^ Carolyn Stewart Dyer and Nancy Tillman Romalov, Rediscovering Nancy Drew. 1995. University of Iowa Press. p. 250.
  5. ^ Martha Foley, Liavon Iurevich, and Jim Moske. 2000. The New York Public Library Humanities and Social Sciences Library Manuscripts and Archives Division, Stratemeyer Syndicate Records, 1832-1984 https://web.archive.org/web/20120329012551/http://legacy.www.nypl.org/research/chss/spe/rbk/faids/stratemeyer.pdf
  6. ^ Girls Series Books: A Checklist of Titles Published 1840-1991, University of Minnesota Libraries https://www.lib.umn.edu/clrc/hess-collection/girls_series
  7. ^ Liz Holderman, Dating Nancy Drew Book Formats, Sept 4, 2008 https://www.worthpoint.com/articles/blog-entry/dating-nancy-drew-book-formats
  • "Guide to the Stratemeyer Syndicate Records" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 March 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
  • "Mildred A. Wirt Benson; List of Her Stories and Novels for Children". Retrieved 3 August 2009.