Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Peace Box

The Peace Box
Joseph Pintauro ~ Norman Laliberté ~ Harper & Row, 1970


Granted, The Peace Box is not really a children's book as evidenced by its subtle message of peace, free love and no war, but still... as you can clearly see from its much-loved cover, I can't think of a moment in my life when this little book wasn't in my room being looked at and poured over by my sisters and me (see picture in banner). According to the inscription inside, it was a birthday gift from my aunt to my father circa 1973. I remember at some point having the whole series, but where those books are now, who the hell knows. There were originally four titles (The Rabbit Box, A Box of Sun, The Magic Box), each constituting a season of the year.

When I was little, these pages were an inside look at an adult world that seem totally appealing to a child. The color and the sentiment... each image seeming at the time to be so important and full of mystery, like I was only understanding half of what I saw and read. Even today, I have a hard time browsing the pages without getting tears in my eyes, so evocative of my youth to me and such a poignant message. I read the words to my son because even though he is only three, he will inherit the world and I know if he truly understands the meaning of the word peace, perhaps he and his peers will make some of it someday.All I ever wanted was not to live forever just time enough in my life to see clear blue water running out the tap & all I ever wanted of space to hang beautiful things made by hands of the lovers of the universe against walls & from ceilings & a girl with a baby inside making paella with clams and a giant tree in a giant pot near a giant window feasting on quiet light & quiet music made there & then by friends with intelligent eyes... figs and bananas & watermelons to touch & eat and wine to make us laugh while peace flows like tides & winds around the world.

That and the design is still pretty rockin'. Gotta love those 70s, man.

7 comments:

Diane said...

I've just discovered your blog through Boing Boing and on my gosh, I absolutely adore it! I work in a used bookstore and we have a lot of vintage children's books and I love looking through them. We always price them up so I end up paying a little bit for them but it's worth it! The art is always superb and so different from now.

Bernadette Uzcategui said...

wow, look at the amazing artwork on these!! I am in love!!

scribbler said...

thanks for the happy words... it's so fun reading everyone's reactions and so cool to see that we don't all have totally isolated experiences... that even though we might all live different lives, something as simple as childrens books can draw us together....

Cover To Cover Booksellers said...

I don't know if you'd be interested, but one of my absolute favorite childhood books is about to be reprinted. Tomi Ungerer's Three Robbers should be working it's way back onto shelves some time next month. Hurrah crazy Tomi!

maria said...

Must. Find. Own. Copy.

Anonymous said...

the same people also did A Box Of Sun, I lost my copy : (

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Anni. I was wondering if there is a part in this book that says something like "yesterday I minded this cat for a lady. I think he understood my windowsill better than I ever did and he drank the milk as if it were his from the beginning of time."~or something like that? My very best friend and I used to quote that to each other all the time because we loved it... it was "our thing". I'm almost positive it was from this book. She passed away this year, and I would love to know, been searching... Thanks and PEACE!

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