While I’m thinking about it, a few more books from John’s shelves. He keeps threatening to outgrow these, so I feel the need to hold onto them as long as I can, or at least to pass them along to other happy listeners.
Most of the following books were published before I was born (I think I’ve already been plenty clear about when that was) but I believe they’ve more than stood the test of time. It’s not like we don’t have the occasional Go, Diego, Go! book around here, and we practically have an entire dinosaur reference library, with Star Wars now in hot pursuit. But these are books that are about beautiful stories and images, and although some of them are much longer (parents, be warned) they’re just lovely in a quiet way that newer books sometimes aren’t.
Corgiville Fair (1971)
Corgiville Fair is a story of intrigue and rabbits, corgis and boggarts, with a meddlesome tomcat stirring the pot. Tasha Tudor (who lived in Vermont!) has such a chatty and old-fashioned way of telling a story, and is so wonderfully matter of fact about things like corgis being a little bit magic.
The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes (1939)
This was one of my favorite books when I was a kid, and I like it even more now. In addition to being a sweet and gentle story, I think it works as a great lesson about the value of the work women do, at home and otherwise. Could this have been my inspiration to have both a child and a job? For what it’s worth, DuBose Heyward also wrote the book, Porgy, which was the basis for Porgy and Bess.
Blueberries for Sal (1949)
Although Make Way for Ducklings is probably better known, I prefer Blueberries for Sal. Little Sal is up to a bit of mischief, and so is a baby bear. Not enough to worry about setting a bad example (hello, Bedtime for Frances, I’m taking to you…) but enough to give the listener a little bit of excitement. And of course, it all turns out just fine.
Katy and the Big Snow (1974)
Virginia Lee Burton
I grew up with Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, but I live in Vermont, so these days, Katy and the Big Snow is the Burton book for me. Katy plows where no one else can. It feels cozy to read about all that snow, and then not to need to worry about going out in it. Also: good name.
Amos & Boris (1971)
This is a great story about adventure and friendship, but I love Amos & Boris and other books by William Steig primarily because I think the language is absolutely beautiful. “One night, in a phosphorescent sea, he marveled at the sight of some whales spouting luminous water; and later, lying on the deck of his boat gazing at the immense, starry sky, the tiny mouse Amos, a little speck of a living thing in the vast living universe, felt thoroughly akin to it all.” Ahhh….
As usual, I’m intentionally not linking to Amazon here. Go spend some time in an independent bookstore!