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A Comparison of Bomba Dustjacket Types

Above: a detail from the cloth binding beneath the dustwrappers


The three Cupples & Leon dustwrapper types are depicted on this page in order of importance. It was typical of series books of the time to have only one dustwrapper design at a time & use it for the whole series, with just the titles changing, so one jacket of each general type will be sufficient to give an idea of what each set is like.

The original Bomba dustwrapper has the "Green Monkey Spine." As the first & oldest of the Cupples & Leon Bomba dustwrapper types it is always especially thrilling to find copies in this jacket. It was used from 1926 through 1932, on volumes one through fourteen, but is quite hard to find on numbers eleven through fourteen since the dustjacket changed on all reprints after 1932.

With the same artwork but now a "White Monkey Spine" this was the first dustwrapper for number fifteen through number twenty. It is used on all printings from 1932 to 1938. Volume 20 is very rare in this dustwrapper & has been offered by at one specialty dealer in recent memory for $250. As a generality the Green Monkey Spine is most desireable because oldest but with the second state of the dustwrapper it is possible though not easy to construct a complete set with all the spines matching.

The third Cupples & Leon dustwrapper was the "Leaping Bomba" or "Hippo" jacket. This seems to have been used beginning in 1939 & was not discontinued until perhaps 1950. With so many printings there are numerous states of binding & interior sheets but the two main states will be recognized by dustwrappers designated "thick hippo binding" or "thin hippo binding." The thick is earlier with pictorial endpapers. The last (thin) printings no longer used inserted frontispieces on slick stock, but redrew the frontispieces as line drawings printed on regular paper, & pictorial endpapers were discontinued. It is comparatively easy to put together a complete set of matching thin or matching thick Leaping Bombas since all 20 were issued in both formats in formidable quantities.

The fourth & last dustwrappers were the 1953 Grosset & Dunlap reprints of the first ten volumes only, for which, for the first time, every book had its own pictorial jacket, pictorial endpapers, but no frontispieces. You can view the complete complement of these Unique Dustwrappers in the Bomba Grosset & Dunlap Gallery. This is a highly regarded set because of the unique dustwrappers, & since the frist ten books form a saga unto themselves, there is no sense that the set of ten is incomplete merely because there is no similar set of the "world-wandering" period of Bomba's life expressed in volumes 11 through 20 that exist only from Cupples & Leon.

The first nine of the set of ten were reprinted once more by Clover Books without dustwrappers but with the artwork used for pictorial bindings, & G&D reprinted volumes one & two with the pictorial bindings. These jacketless editions might've been valued if it were at least possible to make a matched set of them, since the first ten volumes constitute the "complete quest" of Bomba's South American jungle quest for to find his parents or his origins -- but since the tenth volume is forever lacking they are not highly regarded except for introducing one's own kids or young relatives to the series via editions that aren't too valuable to permit kids to manhandle.


copyright 1999 by Jessica Amanda Salmonson
Violet Books buys & sells juvenile series books in dustwrappers.
Your quotes of single items or entire libraries are welcome.
Check out the on-line Juveniles & Childrens Catalog
for a sampling of what's on hand.


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