"How and Why Wonder Books" 69 of 70 = 98%

 
When I was a kid, my parents often bought me books from the "How and Why Wonder books" series.  These were produced in the US during the 1960's and covered many subjects in science, technology, nature and history. They were large format books of 270x205mm, mostly softcover, but hardcover was also available. They are always 48 pages long, and mostly illustrated with simple painted artwork, though some photographs are used. The books are structured into chapters based on sub-topics of the title subject, and within these are questions that a child might ask, followed by a half page answer to the question.

My recent interest in retro-computing led me to search for one particular book in the series, the "How and Why Wonder book of Robots and Electronic Brains". During this quest, I found and bought 13 of these books at an op-shop for $4. 
That got me going to collect the whole set.... 

There appears to be around 70-76 titles in the series, and there are both US and UK versions. Some of the UK editions differ only in the title and/or cover illustration, while others are complete rewrites. The UK editions also include many titles that are not in the US series at all. 
There was also a cheap imitation series named "Why Wonder books", I've only come across one of these.

The US editions have a numbering system from 5001 upwards, the UK editions have no clear system. At times, some titles appear to have been dropped and then relaunched later with a new number (eg. Fish, Stars). The back covers of the classic US editions list the titles in the series, but only up to 5069 (even on 5070) so the exact number is unclear.

The US editions underwent three style changes, there were the (rarish) very early editions, followed by the popular "classic" versions in the early 60's. They changed again in the 1970's and then once more in the 1980's, when they were also given ISBN numbers. It seems publication ceased sometime in the 1980's. I'm primarily interested in collecting the classic 1960's US versions of these books. 
 

Back covers of the various editions
Early US editions
Classic US editions
   
New Style (circa 1970) New Style (circa 1980) UK editions

Below are scanned images of the covers for the titles that I have collected.

Classic US editions

5001 Dinosaurs 5002 Weather 5003 Electricity 5004 Rocks and Minerals
1 copy (Also 70's & 80's) 8 copies (1 hardcover, 1 70's) 6 copies (1X) 7 copies (1 poor,1 70's)
5005 Rockets and Missiles 5006 Stars (also 5064) 5007 Insects 5008 Reptiles and Amphibians
2 copies 3 copies (1 Early US edition) 4 copies (1 hardcover) 3 copies
5009 Birds 5010 Our Earth 5011 Beginning Science 5012 Machines
3 copies 3 copies 6 copies (1 hardcover 4006 1 UK) 4 copies (1X)
5013 The Human Body 5014 Sea Shells 5015 Atomic Energy 5016 The Microscope
5 copies (1 new style) 6 copies 4 copies 10 copies
5017 The Civil War 5018 Mathematics 5019 Flight (see also 5065) 5020 Ballet
2 copies (1 hardcover) 3 copies 2 copies 4 copies
5021 Chemistry 5022 Horses 5023 Explorations and Discoveries 5024 Primitive Man
2 copies 3 copies 2 copies (1 UK) 4 copies
5025 North America 5026 Planets and Interplanetary Travel 5027 Wild Animals 5028 Sound
4 copies (1 hardcover 4027) 3 copies 2 copies
5029 Lost Cities 5030 Ants and Bees 5031 Wild Flowers 5032 Dogs
2 copies (1 UK edition) 6 copies 3 copies
5033 Prehistoric Mammals 5034 Science Experiments 5035 World War II 5036 Florence Nightingale
3 copies 9 copies (1 70's 1 UK)
5037 Butterflies and Moths 5038 Fish (also 5066) 5039 Robots and Electronic Brains 5040 Light and Color
4 copies (1S) 3 copies 2 copies 1 copy
5041 Winning of the West 5042 The American Revolution 5043 Caves to Skyscrapers 5044 Ships (see also 5067)
1 copy 3 copies (1 UK) 3 Copies (1 UK)
5045 Time 5046 Magnets and Magnetism 5047 Guns 5048 The Moon (also 5068)
3 copies 6 copies (1 hardcover)
5049 Famous Scientists 5050 Old Testament 5051 Building 5052 Railroads (also 5069?)
6 copies (1 no back cover)
5053 Trees 5054 Oceanography 5055 North American Indians 5056 Mushrooms, Ferns and Mosses
3 copies 4 copies 1 copy 2 copies
5057 The Polar Regions 5058 Coins and Currency 5059 Basic Inventions 5060 The First World War
3 copies (1 falling apart)  6 copies (1 UK) 3 copies 2 copies (1 missing pages)
5061 Electronics 5062 Deserts 5063 Air and Water 5064 Stars (also 5006)
2 copies (1 UK version) 1 copy 2 copies
5065 Airplanes and the Story of Flight (see also 5019) 5066 Fish (also 5038) 5067 Boats and Ships 
(see also 5044)
5068 The Moon (also 5048)
5069 Trains and Railroads (also 5052?) 5070 Ecology 5071 the Environment and You  5072 Extinct Animals?
1 copy 4 copies (1 HC70's)
5073 Snakes? 5074? 5075? 5076 Fossils?


US 1970's Editions
 5004 Rocks and Minerals 5009 Birds 5034 Science experiments 5071 The Environment and You
5001 Dinosaurs 5008 Reptiles & Amphibians 5066 Fish
US 1980's Editions
 5001 Dinosaurs 5008 Reptiles & Amphibians 5013 The human body 5024 Primitive Man
5061 Electronics

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


UK editions
UK512 Caves to Skyscrapers  UK515 Explorations and Discoveries UK532 Beginning Science
UK552 Birds  UK549 Castles UK554 Coins (5058) UK556 The Spoilt Earth
2 copies Complete rewrite of US edition 2 copies
UK558 Communications  UK560 Kings and Queens  UK563 Photoghraphy UK571 Insects
2 copies
  UK574 The Crusades
 UK579 Ships UK595 Deserts (5062) UK545 The Tower of London UK509 Lost Cities (5029)
Same contents as US edition

 
The cheap imitation
Front cover
Back cover



 
Sources and Costs
Animal Welfare Op Shop, Carnegie 5017H $00.50
MECWA Op Shop, East Malvern 5001 5002 5004 5010 5014 5021 5022 5024 5026 5027 5029 5036 5056 $04.00
Sindbad's Books, Carnegie 5039 $03.00
St Vincent DePaul OpShop, Pinewood 5004 5005 5014 5016 5010 5020 5034 5035 5051 5060 $02.00
Bentleigh Sunday market UK512 $00.50
Epic Treasure Trove, Bentleigh 5015 5018 5070 UK556 $01.20
eBay auction 5019 5052 $23.55!!!!
Prahran Central Mission 5053 $00.50
Penny Sybers bookstore, Windsor 5030 5054 5058 5062 UK595 UK554 UK558 $20.00
Oakleigh Lions Op Shop, Murrumbeena 5002H $00.50
Lots of Things, Hughesdale 5020 $00.50
Just Stuff, Oakleigh  5015 5028 UK560 $03.00
Oakleigh Curch of Christ Op Shop 5016 $00.20
All at Sea bookshop, Burwood 5007 5008 5011 5013 5047 $09.50
Angel Treasures Bookshop, Oakleigh 5002 5013E 5016 5028 5046 5051 UK558 UK579 $15.00
Bridport St. Op Shop, Albert Park UK549 $00.50
Lion's Club Op Shop, Mt. Waverly UK574 $00.20
Salvo's, Mt. Waverly 5006 5007SH $01.00
Vic. Boy's Choir Op Shop, Glen Waverly 5002 5016 UK556 $00.75
Salvo's, Mulgrave 5009S $00.50
St. Andrews Church Op Shop, Brighton 5024E $00.40
Animal Welfare Op Shop, Carnegie 5060 $00.50
The Merchant of Fairness, Balwyn 5004S 5007H 5030 5034S 5070 5071S UK563 $19.50
Camberwell market 5006 5026 5033 5048 5059 $12.00
Camberwell market 5003 5009 5019 5023 5026 5033 5034 5038 5039 5043 5046 5049 5054 5058 $03.00
Epic Treasure Trove, Auburn 5014 $00.50
Lions club Op shop, Mordialloc 5003 5005 5006I 5030 5033 5044 5046 5057 $02.00
Bargain Trader, Parkdale 5007 $01.00
MECWA Op Shop, East Malvern 5013 $00.25
St. Paul & All Saints Op Shop, Ascot Vale 5024 UK545 $00.40
Weroona Home garage sale, East Malvern 5056 5011H $00.50
Camberwell market 5004 5008 UK509 $01.00
Camberwell market 5024 $00.50
Camberwell market 5001E $01.00
Chapel Street Bazzar, Prahran 5012 5031 5057 5066 $12.00
Camberwell market 3x5002 5003 5007 5008 2x5011+UK532 2x5012 5x5016 5020 5025 5030 5032 3x5034+UK518 2x5037 5046 2x5051 2x5054 5059 UK515 $16.00
Red Cross shop, Carnegie 5003 $00.50
Internet seller in Sydney 5002 5004 5009 5013 5014 5016 5018 5020 5021 5034 5058 5059 $20.00
St. ??? Op Shop, PascoeVale  5046H $00.50
Camberwell market 5017 $02.50
Sindbad's Books, Carnegie 5014 5018 5024 5053 5045 5046 5051 UK532 UK549 UK571  $21.00
Salvos, Hampton 5038 $00.50
??? Op shop, Caulfield south $00.40
??? 5032 $00.50
Diabetes op shop, Caulfield south 5027 $00.50
Camberwell market 5009 5013 5037 5064 $01.40
Salvos, Mount Waverly 5001S 5022 5032 5034 5067 Imposter $03.00
Chapel Street Bazzar, Prahran 5045 5057 5058 $09.00
MECWA Op Shop, East Malvern 4027 "Deluxe Edition" hardcover "Planets and Interplanetary Travel" $00.50
??? 5004 5070 $01.00
Traded 5040 5041 5063 $08.00
eBay 5061E $05.50
RSPCA Op shop Ballarat 6511 (fish) 5027 5030 $00.90
Donated- Thanks Ross! 5004 5015 5043 5044 5045 5051 5053 5058 5003X 5008S 5012X 5037S 5066S  UK552 $00.00
Ebay Auction 5003 5010 5011 5014 5015 5022 5030 5055 5064 5069 $31.00
Ebay Auction
Ebay Auction
Prahran Central Mission $01.00

 
 
Possible other titles
Submarines  Railways  Seashore   HERALDRY   ARMS AND ARMOUR  Radiation  Stamps  The Lady of the Lamp Railways(UK)

 
 
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