A lot of last minute gift shopping and wrapping is probably happening this weekend. Everyone is still looking for that present that is just right… and so I bring a delightful book, one that is about simplicity in giving, hearts of gratitude and presents that are perfect in size and thought. With a tale similar in concept to Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree, this is a book about some soft red cloth that keeps on giving. It is Just Right for Christmas by Birdie Black & Rosalind Beardshaw, 2011.
Christmas Eve is in full swing and a king spies the perfect red cloth to make a gift for his princess. He purchases it and has his sewing maids create a long cloak to gift the princess. It is wrapped and ready, so the maids discard the scraps of cloth in a bundle by the back door. The kitchen maid comes across the bundle on her way home, declares it Christmassy and carries it off to make a jacket for her father. On the cloth goes, growing smaller and smaller in leftovers yet getting made into special, customized gifts along the way until the smallest of mice finds the final scrap and creates a scarf that is just right for her little Billy on Christmas morning.
This is such a sweet little book full of so many great thoughts about giving, recycling, hand-making, and being intensely thoughtful during the Christmas season. I love the combination of characters from rich to poor, human to animal, and big to small.
Birdie Black is actually the pen name of successful UK publishing manager, Kate Wilson. She did an excellent job crafting what I believe is her first book to author and shaped a familiar concept into a new and lovable book.
Part of this book’s appeal for me was, of course, the illustrations. Rosalind Beardshaw’s mixed media style is very intriguing and works quite (ahem) seamlessly with this story. Her characters are adorable, although their outfits are probably my favorite detail! I love how she handles so many little stories all centered around the sewing of this red cloth with illustrated stitch lines to separate time segments. The mixture of full spreads with tiny vignettes is also a lovely touch.
I hope you are not stressing out about the perfect gift, but enjoying the season of giving in small and special ways. I’m sure with a little special thought every gift you think of will feel “just right… just how Christmas should feel.”
Follow along our book adventure at 25 Days of Christmas in 2013.