My Family (a long time ago)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

It Says So in the Childcraft!

Another post in a series on Famous Family Sayings

In my family, when you made a definitive statement about something you had to be able to prove it. Mom and Dad taught us to question things, so if I said something like “The moon is made out of cheese” someone would ask where I had heard that and then tell me to prove it. Most families had some version of encyclopedias back then, including mine, even if they were a little out of date by the time I started using them. So I’d break out the encyclopedia that included an entry about the moon and then… realize my older brothers had just made a fool of me.

We also had another option that had entries on a whole bunch of topics, a book called Childcraft. It was basically an encyclopedia for kids, with simple language, pictures and illustrations. There were multiple books, but I think we only had one – How Things Work. I used to look up things in there all the time (OK, so I was a little nerdy as a kid), as did other members of my family. That book contained a lot of good information and I found it quite interesting.

One time, my sister had one of those definitive statement moments and when asked how she knew, her simple response was, “It says so in the Childcraft!” While what she said may have been true, my older brothers pounced all over that statement and made a joke out of it. In fact, they thought it was so funny, they started using that line all the time (which us younger ones picked up on and copied so we could be cool like them). That line got used so much it became a Famous Family Saying.

Here are some fictional examples of how this line may have been used:

One of us younger ones: “It’s getting cloudy outside, I think it’s going to rain.”
One of the older ones: “It says so in the Childcraft!”

Me: “Anyone know what’s for dinner?”
Older brother: “Roast beef.”
Me: “Again? Are you sure?”
Older brother: “Yup. It says so in the Childcraft!”

Older brother: “Joey has a new girlfriend.”
Me: “I DO NOT! Who told you that?”
Older brother: “It says so in the Childcraft!”

Older brothers: “Don’t tell Mom what we’re doing. You wanna know why?”
One of us younger ones: “Why?”
Older brothers: “Because if you do…” (fist punching other hand) “You wanna know why?”
One of us younger ones: “Why?”
Older brothers: “It says so in the Childcraft!”

One of us younger ones: “You’re in TROUBLE!”
One of the older ones: “What?!?! I didn’t do anything. How do you know?”
One of us younger ones: “It says so in the Childcraft!”

This last example would have been followed by a mad dash to get away before we got a noogie…or worse.

If you made any kind of statement that sounded smart, there was a good chance it would be followed by “It says so in the Childcraft!” It was funny at times, not so funny at other times. When you were just being a know-it-all, it was funny for everyone. When you were trying to be serious about something and got mocked with that line, it could be very frustrating. Now that I think about it, it was always funny for everyone except the person at whom “It says so in the Childcraft!” was aimed.

We used that phrase so often that the publishers should have been paying us royalties. For years, there wasn’t a week that went by that “It says so in the Childcraft!” didn’t get uttered by at least one of us. The strange thing is, I don’t remember Mom or Dad ever getting involved with this and having to stop it like they did with so many other things. I can’t say no one ever got hurt (at least emotionally), but I guess it never got out of hand. Eventually, as we got older, it died out.

Kids today wouldn’t know an encyclopedia from a cyclorama. Instead of researching something using an encyclopedia, they do their research using the internet. You could make a strong case that their “It says so on the internet” is our “It says so in the Childcraft!” With one exception that is; everything in Childcraft was true. I don’t know if the Childcraft books are still published, but if they were, you could probably look up “internet” and it would say that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. That would be awesome, because when someone asked me how I knew, I could say “It says so in the Childcraft!”


  1. I have volumes in my basement. volumes 1-15 from 1954.

    1. I hear they are worth some money as collector's items. Of course, if you still use them, you may not want to give them up :)