Friday, May 31, 2019

Ladies of Fantasy

Not to brag, but we really do have a great personal library.  Picking books for this blog is sometimes overwhelming because there are just so many great books to pick from.

I'm sure this wasn't published as a childrens' book, but it does contain two authors, Joan Aiken, and E. Nesbit who are on our children's bookshelves.

Great selection of stories, all spooky and mysterious, by women writers.  There a nice biographical introduction to each of the stories and of course the Edward Gorey dust jacket (ripped and taped as it is) is splendid.

"Searching for Summer" by Joan Aiken is one of my favorites.  Her story is not disturbing or weird, in fact it's quite sweet, but strange nonetheless.

Other books by Joan Aiken:
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
The Moon's Revenge

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Children and Their Mothers

Hans Reich 1964

"The Heavens seem as near as our mother's face is..."
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

This beautiful book combines photos of mothers from around the world and a few quotes and poems. I love the multicultural and universal view of motherhood... playful, tender, nurturing, and hard work.  And I adore this from Elizabeth Barret Browning...  

Me & You

A sweet read for Mother's Day...

Me & You
Lisa Thiesing

In illustrated "photographs" a mother shows her daughter how alike they are but also celebrates her daughter's own individually.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Poems for Children and The Children's Bells Eleanor Farjeon

Poems for Children 1951
The Children's Bells 
illustrated by Peggy Fortnum 1957
Eleanor Farjeon

Almost any collection of children's poems will include one or more from Eleanor Farjeon.  She was a prolific writer of children's stories and plays and poetry.  I was unaware until recently that the beautiful hymn "Morning has Broken" was penned by her!

Her poems are so wonderful- at once playful, sweet, childish, and intelligent.  

Morning has Broken

Morning has broken
Like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken
     Like the first bird.
Praise for the singing!
Praise for the morning!
Praise for them, springing
     From the first Word.

Sweet the rain's new fall
Sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dewfall
     In the first hour.
Praise for the sweetness
Of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness
     From the first shower.

Waking at 5am for my job at the coffee shop can be rough.  But oh the rewards when I walk down and see the sun rise!  I sometimes even sing the hymn "Morning has Broken" on my way.  (Cat Stevens has the most beautiful rendition.). It was only recently that I learned that Eleanor Farjeon wrote the original verse "A Morning Song (For the First Day of Spring)".  We have it in our 1957 copy of The Children's Bells.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Time For Poetry

illustrated by Arthur Paul 1952

I'm of the opinion that you can't have too many collections of poetry.  There will definitely be repeats of especially classic poems, but each collection has it's own never before seen treasures.  I love discovering these!  It's also interesting to see the style of poems included depending on the publishing date.  It can be a time capsule of literature.

This 1950's collection is full of mid-century retro feel.  From the simple line drawings to the type face, to the robust variety of poets.  It's become my habit to place sticky notes at the poems I want to copy for letters or my children.

I recently tucked this one (Shop Windows) in Charlotte's lunchbox.  She came home and said she loved it!  (Though of course in our family I'm the one who can't pass up the books!)

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Most-of-the-Time Maxie

Adelaide Holl 1974
illustrated by Hilary Knight

A fun ode to a child's imagination.   Maxie is "just an everyday kind of a boy",  but sometimes he can be a pirate, or policeman, an astronaut or a rodeo star.  Hilary Knight's illustrations bounce playfully  around the pages.

(This book also reminds me of Cowboy's Secret Life)

Friday, May 3, 2019

Tales from the Ballet

Tales from the Ballet
adapted by Louis Untermeyer
illustrated by A. and M. Provensen 1968

Louis Untermeyer was a prolific author and contributer to children's literature.  Not only did he adapt stories for children, but he also published many well regarded anthologies of poetry.  It's definitely worth looking for his Golden Treasury of Children's Literature and Poetry books.  They sometimes pop up at thrift stores (where we've gotten our copies).   

Here are his adapted stories of the ballet.  Illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen in a style that's particularly dense and with a midcentury modern feel.  Years ago I would not have been drawn to this style of illustration, but recently I've found myself absolutely loving it.  I used to think it looked untidy and abstract, but I've come to admire the decptively detailed and intentional colors of the compositions.  

All the big ballet stories are here, "Giselle", "Copellia", etc...  Our favorite thing is to read about the story and then look up youtube videos of the dances.  Ondine was one of our favorites.