The Little Red Wagon, illustrated by Clare McKinley. A Rand-McNally Book-Elf Junior, whatever that means, from 1949. I've put the whole book up, but my favorite pages are below.
I love these old children's books. The illustrations are so joyful. Yes, yes, everyone lives in an all-white world of picket fences and friendly grownups, and these two little parentless six-year-olds are apparently free to wander around the town, accosting toddlers and unescorted women. Still, bright and shiny happiness in a time before irony or zombies.
Random thought number one: the image of Mrs Porter (see below), with her bursting bag of groceries, visible celery, and imminent leash entanglement, reminded me (uncomfortably) of the celery and loose underwear illustrations of Art Frahm, especially, say, this one. Was Frahm inspired by The Little Red Wagon? Was he thinking, Ho ho, if only Mrs Porter's bloomers had fallen impossibly to her ankles?
Random thought number two: I looked up "Mason and Lang," the name of the delivery service in the book, but the only reference is to a historical novel from 1899, "Parson Kelly." I have no idea what it means.