My mum and I were shopping in Barnes & Noble this weekend, and naturally I spent most of my time in the children's section. With Christmas just around the corner, it's a perfect
excuse time to lavish myself my children (and other children I love) with new books. ;)
Well, as I walked about making mental notes for future holiday shopping (this was mainly a reconnaissance mission) I spied the above book sitting front and center on the bargain book shelf. I froze in my tracks and almost - no I think I did - squeal audibly: Oh my goodness, I remember that book!
It was indeed a larger version of a little, and much beloved, lift-the-flap book we bought for Bookworm when he was just a wee babe - about 12 years ago! (It might not surprise you that I had baskets of books for my first child long before he was born.)
Well that tiny tome has long since been lost and, if I recall, most of the flaps had been ... well, there's just no other way to say it ... ripped off. But oh how I loved it. We loved it together; it was such a special part of our winter reading. (You have to see the pages - exquisitely illustrated - to know what I mean). Even though our son was barely six months old, I remember that year I set up a small winter reading nook, and this book was right there, surrounded by lighted evergreens, peppermint candles and tiny woodland toys. Caught up in new parenthood I didn't realize how special that book was (nor how quickly time would fly), but years later I long to cherish that story (and those memories) again.
So finding this book yesterday - and in a larger, ahem, sturdier size - was such a happy surprise. And it cost all of $7.98! Bookworm will remember it and Crackerjack too - but Earlybird is just the right age for it to be his special book now. (Did I mention the little bunny finger puppet in the back?) This will be one of EB's birthday surprises next month. :)
Peekaboo's author, Mary Melcher, is one of my favorite illustrators. (Just fyi, since we're talking children's books here, the others would be Tasha Tudor, Susan Branch, Jan Brett, Marjolein Bastein, Sharon Lovejoy, Kay Chorao, Mary Engelbreit, Barbara Cooney and Elisa Kleven. I know there are more, but that's all I can think of right now.)
Ms. Melcher only made a few books that I'm aware of: The Best Thing about Valentines and the original Peekaboo Bunny (a garden themed story) as well as a book with which I'm unfamiliar, Mommy Who Does God Love? But you might recognize her artwork from her lovely greeting cards, which were my first foray into her adorable world of tiny animals and pretty landscapes.
Yes, her characters are cute (mostly bunnies and bears), but what I love most about those cards are the landscapes and how real they look - soft, shaded and natural. Februrary's sky is cloudy and gray with a touch of pink at the horizon. The trees are bare and a bit of snow is in the air. Her Halloween cards are all golden sunshine and peachy sunsets. These touches make such a difference - they capture the season.
When I was in high school, my best friend Sabina and I would collect MM cards and exchange them for every possible occasion you could imagine. At the time (late 80s) her cards were very easy to find, but then sadly, they went missing for a while. Well, I'm happy to say a few years ago I found them at of all places, Target! Do look for them if you have a chance. They are just so sweet and seasonal. Usually I buy one of each card first (for collecting) and then pick various cards to send out. ;)
And while I'm on the subject of children's books, and Barnes & Noble, if you happen to be there, you might spy a set of three large hardcover books of poetry, recently reissued by B&N:
We own all three, each one illustrated by the late Gyo Fujikawa. Oh the post I could write about her books! They are wonderful. Sweet, simple, innocent and adorable. I believe they were originally published in the 70s (a time I am most nostalgic for, as it was my childhood era). Do you remember these books? I'm not sure I actually owned them, but her illustrations were so familiar to me when I first found these books years ago. I treasure them, and am so happy they have decided to keep publishing them and at an afforable price ($8.95 apiece).
(For the record, I like the middle book listed the best. Lots of great poems to choose from, all of them spread out over pages brought to life with charming sketches. Perfect for perusing with your little ones - or medium ones or big ones, too!)
And if you can ever find Ms. Fujikawa's long out-of-print, Oh, What a Busy Day - ooh, grab it! This mght be my most favorite children's book ever. It captures the joys of an everyday homey kind of day when you're little.
OK, I've kept you here long enough! Now I must be off to get started on what promises to be a very busy week! There will be much cleaning and cooking (20 guests coming on Thursday!) and I hope many grateful moments - for so many things - but today for special books and the memories they plant in our hearts.