1950s

25 Days – Book 21: Eloise At Christmastime

“Once there was this little child
You know her I believe
Here’s who she is me ELOISE
And it is Christmas Eve.”

It’s Day 21. Five days to go and Eloise is hopping with the Christmas Eve buzz. It’s time for Eloise At Christmastime by Kay Thompson, drawings by Hilary Knight, 1958/1999. Read the full post…

25 Days – Book 8: The Friendly Beasts

Day 8 is a sweet book adapted from an old English carol. It is a story about the first Christmas as the animals await Mary and Joseph and their newborn baby. It is a unique version of the carol, with an expanded story and vibrant, unusual colors. Check out The Friendly Beasts by Laura Nelson Baker, illustrated by Nicolas Sidjakov, 1957.

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Let’s Read Three: Father’s Day books!

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This week has felt very focused on dads, even more so than usual thanks to Father’s Day this Sunday, and my husband being out of town all week. I’m starting to think he planned it that way as my girls have been talking about Daddy non-stop and we all cannot wait for his arrival. Unfortunately though, single parenting for the week has made any hopes of fun Father’s Day gifts go completely out the window. Survival first; celebration planning second. But, I did what I always tend to do when celebrating or thinking about something specific… we read Dad-themed books. And of course reading several books in succession made me think, I need to post those as a Let’s Read Three series! So, lucky you, I’ve got not one – but two posts forthcoming all about dads.

Now, my favorite Dad picture book of all time will always be The Daddy Book which you can see in all of its glory on my review post a couple of years back. And we also love any Little Bear story about Father Bear. But for this grouping I grabbed some classics. These are most likely on a lot of people’s favorite lists considering the Golden Book legacy and the illustrators involved, so I’m calling them great classics. Let’s Read Three (classic) books about fathers! Read the full post…

25 Days – Book 18: A Child’s Christmas In Wales (Ill. Raschka)

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We are a week away from Christmas in this picture book countdown. I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted already from the holiday. I’m also behind. So when I sat down today to write this post, I was a bit disheartened to remember I had chosen a very long book. I mean really long, as in, it probably shouldn’t even count as a picture book. But then I sat with it, read through it, and felt myself take a deep sigh. I needed the moment of peace. I needed to be told a story from someone like this whose storytelling reminds me of my grandfather. So I am at peace with today’s book and hope you need something just like it too. Take a moment with A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas, illustrated by Chris Raschka, (1954) 2004.

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25 Days – Book 11: The Night Before Christmas Illustrated by Duvoisin

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Day 11 of our Advent countdown and it is time to add another book to “The Night Before Christmas” tag. I just cannot resist. And honestly, no offense Mr. Moore, but it isn’t because of the poem. Yes, I appreciate the lovely wording and beautiful imagery he penned; but most fascinating to me in each of these many duplicate-named books is the interpretation by the different illustrators. I especially love when a well-known and beloved illustrator takes their turn with the text. So let’s take a look at the gorgeous, classic, and recently reissued version of that famous poem, The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin, 1954.

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25 Days – Book 3: The Animals’ Merry Christmas

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Day 3 of our Advent countdown brings a vintage book that I eagerly sought out this year. It is actually a Little Golden Book with six short stories about Christmas. And best of all, Richard Scarry did the illustrations! Allow me to share a bit of The Animals’ Merry Christmas by Kathryn B. Jackson, pictures by Richard Scarry, 1958.

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Let’s Read Three: Gardening Books

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Perhaps this post is coming a little late in the game, but there is something about the anticipation of fall that has me once again paying attention to and thinking about gardens, plants, and typical Spring-type things. Which is kind of strange considering I am practically allergic to Spring and so far I seem to have a terrible black thumb. Even my succulents bit the dust after just a couple months of apartment living. But recently, I have had a lovely little basil pot survive and yield two batches of pesto thus far, so I am feeling more interested and encouraged about gardening, even in city life.

Before everything starts the beautiful process of dying and changing colors for my favorite season, allow me to share a (bit wordier) look at three books devoted to gardens, and more importantly, community. Let’s read three books about gardening! Read the full post…

How To Be An Excellent Father: a few observations from Father Bear Comes Home by Minarik & Sendak

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Sunday was Father’s Day in the U.S. and I have been determined to do a companion to my Mother’s Day post last month, this time looking at Father Bear from our beloved Little Bear book series. Now, I am not a father, so it feels a little weird to be writing a “how-to” post on something I am not and won’t ever be. But Father Bear is such a strong literary character that it seems only fitting to devote a post to him in celebration of the holiday. In the children’s literature world, parents are often quite terrible or non-existent; so I adore the solid, faithful figure Father Bear presents. Let’s take a look at a few of Father Bear’s strengths and celebrate the joy of fatherhood through him. Here are my observations on how to be a great dad as seen in Father Bear Comes Home by Else Holmelund Minarik, pictures by Maurice Sendak, 1959. Read the full post…

How To Be An Excellent Mother: a few observations from Little Bear by Minarik & Sendak

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Yesterday was Mother’s Day here in the United States. It is an interesting holiday, that most consider to be a marketing ploy, although a previous book I’ve discussed taught me differently. I sheepishly admit that I don’t care too much about Mother’s Day. It is a fine holiday, but always feels a little overdone to me. I do love my mother and mother-in-law, and I never turn down a lovely gift or two or flowers or chocolates or any combination thereof. And I am honored that I am a mother with two children of my own. But perhaps it is because I am in what is considered the throes of toddlerhood that I feel being a mother just isn’t always marvelous. It is hard stuff. Pantloads of patience are required. Motherhood asks for lots of creativity, multitasking, functioning on very little sleep, and did I mention patience?

Well this year, I found myself pondering Mother’s Day a bit differently. My oldest daughter currently holds a deep love for the Little Bear series. As any self-respecting bibliophile would do, I introduced her to the books first. She loved them. And then I happened to remember an animated series based on the books that ran years ago. I looked it up and presto, an obsession was born. We don’t do much watching of anything around here, Mary Poppins being the typical sick-day fare, but a short “Little Bear” here and there have been much delighted in by my daughter and me as well. The books are phenomenal, and the animated series does pretty well at representing them well, although I have some beefs with the completely made up episodes and especially the added characters with more annoying characteristics. But I digress.

All this to say, I have become very familiar with the Little Bear family and I now have a very deep fondness and admiration for Mother Bear. So here, for my day after Mother’s Day post, I am resurrecting the “How To” posts to admire and learn from Little Bear’s fabulous and dearly loved Mother Bear. With the help of the first of the books, Little Bear, by Else Holmelund Minarik, pictures by Maurice Sendak, 1957, here are my five ways to be an excellent mother: Read the full post…

25 Days – Book 25: The Christmas Story

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Merry Christmas! We have reached the end of yet another 25 Days of Christmas picture books. This season went so fast, and yet when I look back at the first books posted this December, it seems like ages ago. How is that possible? As I suspect no one will be visiting today, I will share a simple, vintage Little Golden Book that has sat on my family’s bookshelves for years. It is only appropriate to finish with a Nativity story and what better than a classic Eloise Wilkin styled one. Here is The Christmas Story by Jane Werner Watson, illustrations by Eloise Wilkin, 1956.

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