Reading seatwork series illustrated by Ethel Hays
In our one-room school, our teachers taught several classes for every subject. The number of classes depended on the grade levels of the current students. Sometimes there were half a dozen grades or more for ten or twelve students.
Usually, the teacher called the classes in order from youngest to oldest. "First grade Reading," she might announce, and the first grader/s went to the bench beside the teacher's desk with appropriate books and papers. After a few minutes of oral reading, the teacher assigned some seatwork and called the next class.
In the primary grades, we always had a page or two to do in the reading workbook, a few pages of practice reading from the textbook, a page in the phonics workbook, and the next page of Puzzle Pages.
Read and write, cut and paste
Puzzle Pages was a reading seatwork series. Besides the part of every page that had to be read, the work usually required some writing and some cut-and-pasted words or pictures from the back of the book. This kept our hands busy with pencils, round-tipped scissors, and globs of white paste. We were also expected to color all the pictures on the pages.
The cover of this Puzzle Pages workbook is exactly like the ones I remember. Just look how busy those children are. And so were we! My husband remembers this workbook, also.
One day, the children in the Puzzle Pages story went to the circus, so we had pictures of circus animals to cut and paste. When the teacher checked my page, she marked the elephant wrong, even though I had pasted it in the right place. She said it was colored wrong. Not having gray in my box of 16 crayons, I had made the elephant purple. Maybe she would have preferred light black.
Ethel Hays, artist and illustrator
ThePuzzle Pages workbooks were published by McCormick-Mathers of Wichita, Kansas -- a publishing company which appears to have gone out of business. Internet searches for "McCormick-Mathers" yield used books from the 1930s through the 1980s, but no website for the company.
Ethel Hays. Her other work included a comic strip, Flapper Fanny, during the 1920s and magazine illustrations and comic strips during the 1930s. During the 1940s, she illustrated a number of well-knownl children's books, including The Little Red Hen (1942), Little Black Sambo (1942), The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1942), The Town and The Country Mouse (1942), and others. She also illustrated the popular Raggedy Ann books of the same era.