Tag Archives: childrens book illustration

Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to ME! Today is moi Birthday and my little feast of surprises have not stopped, since my venture out to the Quilt Exhibition on Saturday (more to come on that)! I am being very spoiled!

This morning I was awoken to chocolates, which I munched away on as I opened this beautiful wise ol’ owl card:

The postman delivered this to my door, and we all know how much I love gnomes!:

I must be a very deserving Birthday Girl, because I have been saving for something big for a little while now and cheerily wrapped in pink paper with polka dots was this:

So get ready, I am going to be going picture crazy! I already have plans to sew a fabric cover for the neck strap and I have the perfect scraps left to sew it with. I could just die from happiness! But, I won’t because I have more surprises to come today!

I was torn between making strawberry shortcake cake or banana pudding, but, after a Twitter conversation with the lovely Susan Branch the other evening, I have decided to make a banana cream pie, so I am off to start whipping up cream and slicing bananas and hopefully I will get to soak up a little sunshine before I have to go into work.

My windows are open and the most delicious breeze is making my curtains dance around, Mr. Blue Sky is out and it is a gorgeous day! Hope you are having a beautiful day wherever you are!

**Update: Thank you everyone for all your well wishes, I am off to eat some Birthday Banana Cream Pie…

(Birthday Children Party Image by: Dagmar Wilson, 1957)

Heidi

I have always loved this story by Johanna Spyri. I especially loved watching the Shirley Temple version when I was growing up. Seeing her play with Schwanli and Baerli, her two little goats. Running through the gorgeous Alps, picking flowers and eating her lunch of crusty bread and fresh cheese out of a little pail lined with gingham fabric with Peter by her side.

But, most of all, I loved her little bedroom. Being tucked up in the eaves of the house, her window overlooking the mountains, the smell of fresh air and warm hay around her as she drifted off to sleep.

Yesterday, I felt just like her. The day was just so perfect! A Spring day that gives you a taste of Summer yet to come. I stripped the bed and washed the duvet cover. I let it finish drying over the airer and it was slowly baked in the warmth of the sun, as its edges rippled from the breeze coming through the window.

I fell asleep last night to the gentle pitter-patter of rain and the smell of the sun and fresh air against my cheek. I felt just like Heidi nestled in her little loft with the sweet smell of hay surrounded by the beauty of Spring.

The Country Bunny

This my friends, is one of my most treasured books. The pages are very lovingly worn and well read. It was placed in my Easter Basket many, many moons ago by the Easter Bunny and is one of my favorite books! Not only for the story itself but for the beautiful images.

Du Bose Heyward wrote it for his daughter, Jennifer. This was a fact that I did not know until I was older and since it said on the cover “as told to Jennifer”, I thought for the longest time it had been written just for me!

If you have never had the great fortune of reading this book. It is about a country bunny who has always wanted to be an Easter Bunny. She is a very organized and wonderful mother, each of her children have a responsibility in their home, so everyone works together. After learning that there is a search for a new Easter Bunny she sets out with her children to compete for a place alongside the other bunnies.  She earns her place through hard work, resourcefulness, intelligence but most importantly her kindness.

One day a little country girl bunny with a brown skin
and a little cotton-ball of a tail said, “Some day I shall
grow up to be the Easter Bunny: you wait and see!”
Then all of the big white bunnies who lived in fine houses,
and the Jack Rabbits with long legs who can run fast,
laughed at the little Cottontail and told her to go
back to the country and eat a carrot.
But she said, “Wait and see!”

 

On Easter Eve after delivering so many baskets of eggs to all the little boys and girls she is given the great task by Grandfather Bunny to make one more delivery to bring one very special egg to a very sick child.  She succeeds in the end with the help of Grandfather Bunny’s wisdom and the magical golden shoes.

While in college I had the great opportunity to intern at the Gibbes Museum of Art which holds the original images to this book. Every Easter the prints are carefully taken out of storage and put into a side gallery that doubles as a classroom. I had the privilege of teaching kindergarteners and 1st & 2nd graders the principles of printing and color mixing using these images. As with many older printings the color was created by a layering effect.

I would pick up my little munchkins in the main entry way, they were always adorable, a little fidgety standing there in a small huddled group. The girls usually all dressed up by the Mama’s with a big bow in their hair, because they were on a school field trip, the boys in little khaki shorts with polo shirts and normally untied shoes.  It was my class to teach, so I ran it how I saw fit. I would take them into the dollhouse miniatures gallery first and watch their little faces as they climbed up onto the plinths especially built for little people and with noses pressed against the glass they would stare into the cases of miniature rooms and houses, all built as elfin sized replicas of historic homes.

Next, we would cross the hall and go into the Japanese Print Room, where I would begin to talk about carving a design and how you layered colors, using a different carved block for each new color.  From there we marched on to the “Bunny Room” and there faces were always magical to see as they stared at the prints on the wall of a book many of them had read or been read to numerous times in their young lives.

We would talk about the process layering  and mixing color and we would read the book; have an Easter Egg hunt (the eggs held inside a “puzzle” piece of the images on the wall they had to match) and do a little coloring exercise too.  The days I got to teach them were always a day I looked forward too, because without fail, if nothing else I said or showed them grabbed their attention, that room always did because of Majorie Flack’s sweet images and the beautiful words written by Du Bose Heyward.

I wish I had the Country Bunny’s golden shoes on today, because with a few good leaps I could skip across this ocean between me and my family and be their Easter Bunny hopping in through the door and visiting with them for this most special of Holidays.

The Hungry Caterpillar

I loved this story when I was little. I continue to give it to friends for their children. I am the book gift giver. I think books are very important, especially instilling the love of reading in a child at an early age. My parents always read to us.

We loved being read this story when we were little, sticking our fingers through the little fruit holes and wiggling them around like we were the tiny caterpillar munching away.

I especially loved the picture where has was fat. He looked adorable.

While looking on Etsy (I need to really work on setting up my shop soon!) I came across Sara Carr, who is a beautiful knitter.

And, as I was scrolling I saw “Kevin the Caterpillar” and I could only think of being little. He is adorable! This alone would make you want children to be able to dress them in little caterpillar scarves! I am crazy, I know. He is just too cute!! Check out her Etsy page, she has a lot of other amazing little animals she has created as well!

There is even a plush Kevin with little knitted caterpillar legs!

Staying Cozy

Snowy Morning

Wake
gently this morning
to a different day.
Listen.
There is no
bray of buses,
no brake growls,
no sirens howls and
no horns
blow.
There is only
the silence
of a city
hushed
by snow.
– Lilian Moore, The Golden Book of Poems for the Very Young

We were kissed by the Snow Queen this morning.  Awaking to more snow, swirling around in big fat flakes, like we were living inside a snow globe being shaken up. I love these mornings!

I am off to make a warming cup of hot chocolate and take my “lambiekin” clad feet back to bed for awhile to just enjoy the morning’s peace…

(Snow Queen Image by Angela Barrett)

Sing For Christmas

I love vintage Children’s books and I collect them as I see them, only the ones that really strike me. I wonder what happened to the little person they belonged to, their name written inside either scrawled in their own handwriting or written with a message of love from the people that gave it to them.  What life did they lead, what life has this book lead?

I love illustrations, it is the image that grabs you before the words and these old drawings by Gustaf Tenggren from Sing for Christmas are so sweet. They have a wonderful German appeal to them, looking like the gorgeous wooden German Christmas ornaments made by Wendt & Kuhn.

These images made me smile and so I thought I would share them.  I have found them in two places, the first being the wonderful ASIFA website, which is a treasure! And, the second being the Golden Gems Blog.