Sunday, October 2, 2022

The Pumpkin Heads

In the late 1700's the Reverend Samuel Peters (a loyalist) left the Puritan colony in Connecticut and returned to England.  There, in his frustration, he wrote a General History of Connecticut full of untrue stories that were generally unflattering to the colonists that drove him out.  This book, about the townsfolk of New Haven who MUST find a replacement for their "cutting cap" (a standard to cut all of the men and boys' hair to the same length), is based on one of his stories.  "Pumpkin Head" hardly seems like the most derogatory thing you could call someone, but maybe in Puritan New England is was quite the insult!  And the story portrays the leaders and residents as being pedantic and silly. 

This is also a fun book to display during Autumn with it's black and orange design!

The Pumpkin Heads
adapted and illustrated by A.K. Roche 1968

Friday, September 30, 2022

Clever Bill

Clever Bill 
William Nicholson 1926

A short and sweet story about a toy soldier, "Bill" who is accidentally left behind when Mary goes to visit her aunt.  Luckily Bill can run very fast and makes it to her just in time!  If the illustration style looks familiar it's because Nicholson famously illustrated The Velveteen Rabbit.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

The Pied Piper of Hamelin

The Pied Piper of Hamelin
Mercer Mayer

 Mercer Mayer lends his hand retelling the classic and haunting tale of the Pied Piper of Hamlin.  Adding a little bit of artistic license, he stays pretty true to Robert Browning's original poem about the rat infested town and the mysterious piper who offers his services.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Adventures of Madalene and Louisa

Sometimes books come to me in the most fortuitous ways.  Recently I was at an estate sale.  Unbeknownst to me, the sale had been going on all summer and I was only catching the last of it.  I was there to pick up a sofa but ended up digging through what was left in the boxes and bins.   Lots of fabric and vintage clothes and tablecloths from the 1940's.   I didn't have the time or energy to start unpacking and looking through all the boxes of books.  I picked up some 1930's magazines and this book that was lying right on top.  I didn't even really get a chance to look at it- all I saw was Victorian and insects!

When I got home and had a chance to sit down and properly read it I was thrilled!  It is the story and drawings of two Victorian sisters who are obsessed with entomology and drive their other sister and painting teacher crazy with their antics.  The watercolor pictures are quirky and beautiful and absolutely wonderful!  Of all the books I could have chanced upon at that sale, this one was surely right on top just for me!!

The Adventures of Madelene and Louisa
Louisa Pasley and Madalene Pasley 

As a joke the sisters portrayed themselves as old spinsters.

They also drew themselves shrunk down to size or with giant insects.

This one has a look of Edward Lear to me!

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Let's Look at the Letters

 An alphabet book illustrated by Margaret A. Cranstoun that has some wonderful vintage pictures!

Let's Look at the Letters
illustrated by Margaret A. Cranstoun 1967

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The Mushroom Fan Club

The Mushroom Fan Club
Elise Gravel 2018

We are definitely part of the mushroom fan club!  Elise Gravel's pictures of various fungi are frankly adorable.  But there's enough interesting facts and real information to make this a great learning text.  She has some other cute books about bugs and slugs that I'll have to check out too!