Friday, December 29, 2017

Picture Books in Winter by Robert Louis Stevenson and Gyo Fujikawa

                            Picture Books in Winter                

                Summer fading, winter comes--
                      Frosty mornings, tingling thumbs,
               Window robins, winter rooks,
              And the picture story-books.

               Water now is turned to stone
             Nurse and I can walk upon;
                     Still we find the flowing brooks
            In the picture story-books.

              All the pretty things put by,
                Wait upon the children's eye,
                                Sheep and shepherds, trees and crooks,
             In the picture story-books.

                  We may see how all things are
                 Seas and cities, near and far,
                And the flying fairies' looks,
               In the picture story-books.

                     How am I to sing your praise,
                    Happy chimney-corner days,
                     Sitting safe in nursery nooks,
                    Reading picture story-books?

Monday, December 25, 2017

Tasha Tudor's Psalm 40

Let all those that seek thee,
rejoice and be glad in thee:
Let such as love thy salvation
say continually, The Lord be magnified. 

                                              --Psalm 40

Friday, December 22, 2017

Hoping by Shirley Hughes


Grey day,
     Dark at four,
      Hurry home, 
       Shut the door.
         Think of a time
               When there will be 
On a tree, 
                And hot mince pies, 
              A bulging stocking,
                  A Christmas surprise. 

                           --Shirley Hughes 

                            Out and About

Thursday, December 21, 2017

I'll Be Home for Christmas by Holly Hobbie

Toot and Puddle are two of my very favorite fictional piggies.

Staggering under a load of Christmas greens

Toot, as a seasoned world traveler is in Scotland.

Meanwhile, our little homebody, Puddle is at home getting Christmas ready.

Writing lists and cards to Toot

Toot singing Christmas carols with Scottish sheep in tam-o'shanters.

Sizing up a Christmas tree.

Toot, making his way home

Through snow and storm

I adore this picture. There is always at least one forest/woodland scene in Toot and Puddle books that makes my heart sing. This is that picture in this book.

Toot had even hitched a ride home in a sleigh with a big guy in a red suit.

The joy of a reunion between old friends!

Making plans in a cozy sort of way.
I love Toot and Puddle.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston & Barbara Cooney

I love this book. More than a Christmas book, this is a book about sacrifices families make for the military and about good old fashioned pluckiness. 

And strength. I love how strong this momma is. 

Ruthie's house in the valley of Pine Grove. Coming on to Christmas. 

Earlier that year, her father told Ruthie it was their turn to provide a Christmas tree for the town, as each family did. He and Ruthie set out to find just the right one. 

The one they found was out on a craggy rock. They tied Ruthie's hair ribbon to the top of the tree so they would remember which tree it was when the mountains were all changed by winter and snow. 

Unfortunately, her Daddy was called up to fight in the first World War not long after that. Ruthie and Momma kept things going. 

The war was finished that November, but Ruthie's daddy wasn't on the train of returning soldiers. 

They didn't know when he would return. 

The day before Christmas Eve, the minister comes to say they will just get a tree from someone else, since they know Ruthie's father is still away. Ruthie's momma won't allow the family honor to be tarnished in that way, so she politely declines the easy way out and heads out into the moonlight with Ruthie and Old Piedy the horse to find the chosen tree. 

After a lot of walking, they finally see the tree. Away up over there. 

I may have laid down right there and died. But not these hardy women. 

They get things done. 

As the sun is rising, they drop the tree off at the church and head home. For a reason I don't really understand, the mother doesn't claim the tree. The minister comes to say it is a miracle--in the land of cedars and pines, a balsam tree was left outside the church last night. And Ruthie's momma says Imagine that! 

But whether everyone else knew or not, Ruthie and her momma would know they had done her Daddy proud. 

Ruthie goes to sleep. Her mother stays awake all day sewing Ruthie the perfect angel costume. Because whatever family gives the Christmas tree gets to have the angel part. 

Isn't this cozy? It actually was probably freezing cold. But I like the quilt.

Ruthie's tired mother sews an amazing dress. One that looks suspiciously like her wedding dress. 

The tiny angel on the top of the tree was made to exactly match Ruthie in a dress that was suspiciously similar to the silk stockings Ruthie's Daddy sent home for her Momma. 

Old Saint Nick gives her the beautiful doll. 

And that is when her Daddy comes home. 

I feel like this part is somewhat anti-climatical. It could have been so much bigger. But maybe it is just meant to be Momma and Ruthie's story. After all, they were tough enough to keep things going.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Santa Claus in Comin' to Town Illustrated by Steven Kellogg

Steven Kellogg was one of my favorite illustrators as a kid. He was a superstar of kids books in the 80's-90's. Or at least of MY 1980's and 90's. 

Although he is not quite as popular as he once was, he is still illustrating books in his own intense way.

There is just so much detail in his pictures! 

Green and red spotted giraffes? Of course!

A little bear is the one who visited Santa, so he is the one telling the kiddies Santa is coming. 

This song has always seemed slightly stalkerish (does Santa have a spy cam on me?) but I still like it. And Kellogg's pictures make it delightful. 

I actually didn't even know this part of the song (I leaned pretty heavily on the chorus as a kid) but I have quickly embraced it. Because... Scandinavian decorated elephants. 

The stars! 

Isn't it all so marvelously over the top? 

All those little compartments

Ahhhh.... the joys of Christmas morning!

 At least in Kellogg books. Because I never received a unicorn rocking horse for Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ernest and Celestine by Gabrielle Vincent

This is SUCH A CUTE BOOK. A bear and a mouse, best friends. It seems like Ernest, the bear, is also older and wiser than Celestine, so a sort of father figure dynamic going on. 

But whatever they are, they are perfectly adorable. 

Celestine brings Gideon, her green beaked duck on a walk with Ernest. 

Gideon has a mishap.

Sadness and sorrow

Finger of blame

Gideon met an unfortunate end. 

Ernest tries to figure out how to compensate for this tragedy. 

He compensates lavishly

But... They aren't Gideon.

So Ernest asks Celestine to draw Gideon just so. 

He then works away at his project.

All that work is well rewarded!

All that joy needs an outlet--a party is planned!

Chaos and joy and tears.

A giant sleepover

Is all forgiven? 

I think so.