Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Meanest Squirrel I Ever Met

The Meanest Squirrel I Ever Met
Gene Zion ~ Margaret Bloy Graham ~ Charles Scribner's Sons, 1962

I keep coming back to Margaret Bloy Graham's death earlier this year. Seems every time I turn around I unearth another of her books that I never shared when I was keeping this blog up daily. This one might actually be one of my all time favorites. Of course, anytime there is an unsavory, mysterious character in a children's book, it usually tends to hit the reread pile around these parts. We're spooky like that. But fear not, for all it's shady-characterness, it still falls firmly in the rated G realm. Plus it has this sweet shot of Margaret and Gene in the back flap.

Nibble was a little squirrel who lived in the woods with his father and mother. On Thanksgiving morning, his mother brought a basket up from the storeroom. In the basket were pecan nuts, walnuts and hazelnuts. "Can I play with them?" Nibble asked his mother. "Well," she answered, "if you're careful, you may. But remember, these are not just ordinary acorns. This is our Thanksgiving Dinner." "I'll be careful," promised Nibble.

In what might be the ultimate "don't play with your food" morality tale, after a few rounds of "Nuts in Rows", "Nuts in Circles", and, the classic, "Nuts in Little Piles", Nibble looks up to see a stranger coming down the path. Ignoring the warning of "stranger danger" always seems to come up in forest stories such as this, so it should come as no surprise when said stranger swindles poor little Nibble out of his holiday dinner, pecans and all!

But it's when the squirrel family is forced to get their feast elsewhere that the true story moves into action. Recognize what's on the menu at The Squirrel Cafe?

Ethical questions and nightmares ensue, as the whole clan tries to figure the best way out of their nutty predicament. The theme at the end of the day is repenting for sins and what it means to have courage, two things we could all use more of even in the heat of July.

Another fabulous tale from the husband and wife team that brought us Harry the Dirty Dog and Be Nice to Spiders. May they rest in peace.

Also by: 


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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tammy and Pepper

Tammy and Pepper
Kathryn Hitte ~ Mel Crawford ~ Golden Press, 1964

I don't know about you kids, but we are in full-on spring mode here, just minutes away from the Texas summer. I know lots of you are still suffering in the grips of mother winter, so here's a ray of sunshine to help light the darkness. Nothing can get you jazzed about the upcoming season than Tammy and her little sister Pepper's wild island adventures, Big Golden Book-style.

Tammy and her family went to an island to spend the summer. There were miles of warm, sandy beaches on the island. There were cool pine forests, and a pretty little old-fashioned town. There was lots to do--swimming, and tennis-playing, and bicycling, and sailing in the harbor. For rainy days, there was a cozy library and an interesting museum to visit. Tammy was delighted. A whole summer on this beautiful island! What fun it was going to be!

What fun, indeed! Sunken ships and light houses, cute boys and seashells, and a scary set of circumstances that gets redeemed through Morse Code. Complete with an International Morse Code key in the back. Imagine! Like Nancy Drew just with more beach and double the blond.

Love these Mel Crawford drawings...

Also by:

Story of Harmony Lane
I'm Mommy, I'm Daddy
The Chuckle Book
Sesame Street 1, 2, 3 Storybook
Tommy's Camping Adventure
Boy Was I Mad


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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

RIP Roy McKie

A few days ago I received a very thoughtful e-mail from Roy McKie's son about this father's passing. In 2011, I was lucky enough to interview Roy about his life and work.. 

As I said then about him and the interview... 

"I might not have gotten all the facts here perfectly, but I've tried to convey a short history of an artist I admire so that his legacy can live on a bit longer. However, what I will set in stone about the man is this. Life is short. It's a beautiful thing to have used this life to create something that will live on longer than you. Something that brings joy to other people. We all make mistakes. We all make choices that lead us in one direction or another. But if nothing else, know and remember that Roy McKie was, and is, a kind man. 

There is no way that someone could so beautifully visualize a world full of happy children and smiling dogs and be anything but."

RIP Roy.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Margaret Bloy Graham RIP

"Children’s book illustrator Margaret Bloy Graham, widely known for her depictions of Harry the Dirty Dog in a series of books by her former husband Harry Zion, died January 22 in Cambridge, Mass. She was 94." More at Publisher's Weekly

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Father Fox's Pennyrhymes

Father Fox's Pennyrhymes
Clyde Watson ~ Wendy Watson ~ Scholastic, 1971

The beloved nursery rhyme classic written and illustrated by two sisters from Vermont about the stories a father fox tells his brood of 15 kits. We've always loved this book in our house because of how each rhyme is accompanied by an illustration that fully and precisely tells the tale, often starring one or many of the fox children. A small and busy feast for the eyes.

Mister Lister sassed his sister
Married his wife 'cause he couldn't resist her,
Three plus four times two he kissed her:
How many times is that, dear sister.

Belly & Tubs went out in a boat,
Tubs wore knickers & Belly a coat,
They got in a quarrel & started to shout
And the boat tipped over & they tumbled out.

Ride your red horse down Vinegar Lane,
Gallop, oh Gallop, oh gallop again!
Thistles & foxholes & fences beware:
I've seventeen children and none can I spare.

Thomas Thomas Tinkertoes
Upside down & away he goes!
He's off to call upon the Queen
In blue & crimson velveteen.


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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Winners of the Great Holiday Give

Finally.... the winners are here, picked at random!

Gus was a Friendly Ghost goes out to Liana.
Arial will be receiving The Berenstain Bears' Big Book of Science and Nature.
Loretta Mason Potts now belongs to Danzel.
Kira wins The Beast of Monsieur Racine.

And because I never did post a final day and this whole thing has kinda been half baked! I am picking a special winner of a mystery grab bag of vintage books. And it's you, cruelshoes1.... Winners can send me their mailing info to webe(at)soon(dot)com.

Anyway, thanks for playing gang!


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