File this one under special. This ad from the September 1964 edition of McCalls magazine is for a young readers’ book program. Send a mere $1.49 and get 3 books in exchange for a promise to purchase future editions at least 4 times in the next 4 months.
Early reader books were a thing in the mid-century. I have vivid memories of learning to read from both the Dr Seuss and the more serious McGuffey reader Dick and Jane books. In fact, it is highly possible that my mom signed up for this very program.
The ad came with post cards that one could fill out and mail to the publishers. No need to even send payment. Just send the post card and you would be billed later.
The program was for early readers, and not for only Dr Seuss books. It makes sense, however, that it would be branded as Dr Seuss. By 1964, his name was a household word and the Dr Seuss brand was an American institution. Classics such as Green Eggs and Ham and Cat in the Hat were published almost a decade prior. The classic Christmas movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas was released in 1966.
Reading Dr Seuss’ Cat in the Hat and Are you My Mother (by P.D. Eastman) are some of my fondest early memories. I had the pleasure of reading these books with delight to my children and grandchildren. It’s fair to say that these classics are some of the best things to emerge from mid-century America.