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Rosamund du Jardin

At the other end of the spectrum is Rosamund Du Jardin (or DuJardin), who in my opinion created little more than a series of fashion minded, boy crazy air heads. Set in a small Illinois "Leave it to Beaver" type town located near a large city (possibly Bloomington), it's all about boys, college weekends, dances and prom dresses. Cheating on a test or teenage drinking is about as serious as it gets. Du Jardin is best known for the Tobey and Midge Heydon series (Wedding in the Family is the scarcest), The Pam and Penny Series (about a set of identical twins), and the Marcy series. If you come across the Pam and Penny books, be sure to include the word "twins" in the eBay title field since many people collect books about multiples. Unlike Lenora Mattingly Weber, Du Jardin's characters stay put in their own series, never straying into others, though the settings of all the books are virtually identical.

Anne Emery

Anne Emery also wrote an assortment of series books. Like Du Jardin, her stories are set in the Midwest, mostly in the Chicago suburb of Evanston. Her most popular works are the Sally and Jean Burnaby books, followed by the Pat Marlowe books (which feature young love), the Jane Ellison series (which revolves around 4-H activities), and the Sue Morgan books (which explore high school pecking orders).

Her last series features a spunky girl named Dinny Gordon. Dinny was much more serious and career minded than any of her other characters. She was interested in dating and instead wanted to be an archaeologist! To her credit, Emery did attempt to address some "serious" topics the Gordon series. Dinny Gordon encounters anti-Semitism, for example, when a Jewish family moves into her neighborhood; Pat Marlowe copes with heavy petting; and Sue in the Popular Crowd books struggles with the morality of cheating. She also wrote some stand-alone books too - Married on Wednesday and That Archer Girl. The latter is the only Malt Shop book I've ever encountered which features a bad girl who not only doesn't reform but revels in her evilness. Both titles are hard to find. In the early 1970s, Emery also wrote several books that attempted to tackle the issues of drugs and social upheaval, but she was out of her element. They are pretty lame and not especially sought after. Note the family name in your eBay title.

Janet Lambert

Janet Lambert, another Malt Shop author, set her series in the military. I never cared for them. I came of age during the Vietnam War and wasn't comfortable with her pro-military stance, but she has an avid following. In any case, the military life she describes is long gone. Officers had servants, the General's daughter led a charmed life, everyone lived on base in large rambling houses, and no one ever seemed to suffer from PSD, let alone get wounded or killed. Rather, it was one long series of parties and dances at the Officers Club.

Lambert wrote 27 books, chronicling the adventures of Penny and Tippy Parrish and the Jennifer Jordan family. Everybody wanders in and out of each other's stories so much that ultimately it's difficult to recall which character belongs where. The Jordans were a large family, and all the children married and moved on to spin-off series of their own within the overall series. Confusing, isn't it? I've never been able to keep up with it all, but her fans have the genealogy committed to memory. In addition, she also wrote the Candy Cane series, The Campbell books and the Drayton Family series. Like most other Malt Shop authors, Lambert also wrote several stand-alone books. Again, put "Peggy Parrish" or the main character's name in your subject heading.

There are some excellent websites devoted to series books - Image Cascade (noted above) and the following:

Book Safari

BookLovers Den

Girls Series Books 1840-1991

All are worth visiting for more knowledge about this sub-genre of children's books, and devoted fans maintain websites dedicated to many specific authors.

Lenora Mattingly Weber

Rosamund Du Jardin

Anne Emery

Janet Lambert

There are many non-series Malt Shop books as well. Beverly Cleary of Ramona books fame wrote 3-Jean and Johnny, Luckiest Girl and Wedding in the Family - all of which are still in print. However, the new arrivals were published with dust jackets, so there is still a market for vintage copies possessing Joe and Beth Crush's original cover art.

The popularity of Malt Shop books began to wane during the turbulent late 1960s, and their death knell came with the publication of Judy Blume's Are You There God, It's Me Margaret in 1970. Blume wrote the antithesis of the Malt Shop novel. The heroines not only have sex but also go to Planned Parenthood for birth control pills! Blume's books, by the way, are still in print and not worth picking up - much too common.

So, when see a book with a picture of sweet young thing hanging onto the arm of a boy with a crew cut, grab it, especially if there is a picture of a roadster or a juke box in the background!

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