Featured Author: Clyde Robert Bulla


Clyde Robert Bulla (1914-2007)

Clyde Robert Bulla (1914-2007)

Clyde Robert Bulla (Jan 9, 1914- May 23, 2007) was the author of over fifty books for children. His first book, The Donkey Cart, was published in 1946.

“Born on a farm in a small town in Missouri, Bulla said he always wanted to write, according to his bio on the Scholastic Web site. His first piece was titled, “How Planets Were Born,” and all through school Bulla continued to write stories, as well as plays and poetry. After years of receiving rejections from editors, he finally sold a magazine story. Soon after, he wrote his only adult novel, These Bright Young Dreams, which was accepted by a publisher.

Bulla made no money because his publisher went bankrupt. He went on to write two more books, but no one wanted to publish them. He spent the next several years working at a local weekly newspaper, where he wrote a weekly column. The column caught  the attention of a well-known author and illustrator of children’s books, who suggested that he try writing for kids.

Bulla sent her a manuscript for The Donkey Cart, and since then he continued to write children’s books, as well as the music for several children’s song books.

Bulla’s stories of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Pocahontas and other historical figures captivated young readers for decades. “I’m reaching children at very impressionable age levels — third to sixth grade, 8 to 11 years old,” Bulla told the Los Angeles Times in 1973. “I have to be very careful what I write about.”

Using simple, straightforward language and fast-moving plots, his stories were often told against a historical background. Pocahontas and the Strangers (1972) and A Lion to Guard Us (1981) and others depicted colonial America through the eyes of children. ( from http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6446996.html  )

To his credit, Bulla did not portray children as miniature adults, but did show them to be able to think and act capably; a ray of sunshine in the middle of today’s children’s literature, where children are not often shown as little adults, but often as contemptuous of adults, who are viewed as an inevitable inconvenience,  even in books intended for children less than teen-aged.

Scholastic Titles written by this author that I have found to date :

TX-342- Bulla, Clyde RobertThe Secret Valley–  Illustrator: Grace  Paull

TX-399- Bulla, Clyde RobertEagle Feather

TX-1335- Bulla, Clyde RobertSquanto Friend of the Pilgrims– illustrator: Peter Burchard

TX-3032- Bulla, Clyde RobertPocahontas and the Strangers– Illustrator: Peter Burchard

TX-4034- Bulla, Clyde RobertThe Ghost of Windy Hill– 1968

TW- 216-  Bulla, Clyde Robert Star of Wild Horse Canyon-1960

TW- 292- Bulla, Clyde Robert.- The Secret Valley-1961- Illustrator: Grace Paull

TW- 304- Bulla, Clyde Robert.- Down the Mississippi-1961- Illustrator: Erwin Hoffmann

TW- 345- Bulla, Clyde Robert.- Ghost Town Treasure– 1966 -Illustrator: Don Freeman

TW- 399- Bulla, Clyde RobertEagle Feather– Illustrator:  Tom Two Arrows

TW- 415- Bulla,Clyde RobertOld Charlie– Illustrator: Paul Galdone

TW- 443- Bulla, Clyde RobertRiding The Pony Express-1963

TW- 759- Bulla, Clyde RobertThe Sword In The Tree– 1965- Illustrator: Paul Galdone

TW- 775- Bulla, Clyde RobertThree Dollar Mule-1969

TW-2172– Bulla., Clyde RobertViking Adventure– 1974

TW-4302- Bulla, Clyde RobertTake Care of Dexter– original copyright 1973

This list points out an anomaly that exists in Scholastic’s numbering system. Rarely, a book was issued and withdrawn from print, and another book assigned the number, so it was neessary to assign a new number to the original book. In two cases in the catalogue of Bulla’s works, Scholastic assigned not just a new number, but also a new prefix. It may be that the two books in question, Eagle Feather, and The Secret Valley, were found to be more appropriate in the TW prefix, which generally serves children between the ages of 6-9  years, rather than the TX prefix, which serves ages 10-12 for the most part.

Of course, there are probably more, as this is a work in progress.

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About vintagescholastics

I love these old Scholastics! I am a bookseller, writer, and dog-lover; live at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains of New York with my computer-programmer husband. We love motor-cycle riding, renovating our old camp on Lake Desolation, gardening, and researching our genealogy. The purpose of this blog is to highlight those beloved old books from the Scholastic Book fairs from 1950 - 1979. This will serve as a catalogue of the books, with their identifying numbers, a plot summary, and a photo of the cover; with a searchable index. I want to give all of the writers and illustrator's bios so they get credit (many were writers in the summer while on vacation from their regular schoolteaching jobs.; some are lesser known efforts by very famous people; and some are reprinted classics.) Hopefully, their fans will be able to identify favorite titles with snipets of remembered information. We will always be adding new ones, and welcome your submissions
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