Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Over the River and Through the Wood

Over the River and Through the Wood
Lydia Maria Child ~ Brinton Turkle
Coward, McCann & Geoghegan ~ 1974


I did have a small handful of Thanksgiving books I wanted to talk about last week, but life got the best of me. I'll hold the bulk for next year, but there was one in particular I thought fitting to move ahead with. When I was little, we didn't know enough stanzas of this song to realise it was a Thanksgiving poem. I thought it had more of a general holiday/cold weather theme. And we always sang "to grandmother's house" we go, but hey, just shows you how much we knew.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To grandfather's house we go;
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh,
Though the white and drifted snow.


It might even be that someone (my grandmother perhaps) taught us to sing this first verse over and over again so we missed the rest of the song with its pumpkin pie et al. Or perhaps I'm simply forgetting. All the same, this wonderful take on Child's traditional holiday song is by the illustrator of the Caldecott Honor award-winning classic Thy Friend, Obadiah.

Ms. Child originally published the song as a poem entitled A Boy's Thanksgiving Day in 1844. Oddly enough, Ms. Child was most famous for penning this ode to holiday travel, but her true legacy lies in using her gift of words toward helping abolish slavery and forward the women's rights movement. One classy gal if you ask me.

A belated Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers here in the states... now, let the Christmas season begin!



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6 comments:

Wendy Braun said...

I posted this song on Thanksgiving. Had no idea there was a book! Brinton Turkle's illustrations are great! Thanks for sharing. :)

Nan said...

Thanks for posting this, the older 1974 version. Turkle's illustrations touched me and my arm reacted by purchasing the book.

The newer woodcut version looks attractive too. Will keep my thrifty eye out for it.

Emily said...

Turkle's is my favorite edition of *Over the River and Through the Wood* also (I posted before Thanksgiving). I have so enjoyed reading about your finds, discovering your blog a couple months ago! I relish the hunt too and have a little used bookstore that I frequent - though I've not been as successful as you have. I've found a few treasures at consignment sales. Thanks so much for sharing these jewels with us!

Maryam said...

We love this song! And sweet Obadiah, too :)

ravensgard said...

I'm looking for an illustrated children's book from the 60's or earlier that is something like this story-line. "Anybody recognize this? I've been looking for this winter holiday (probably Thanksgiving???) illustrated children's book for YEARS! It was probably published before about 1967, as that's the year I turned 20, and I'm pretty sure these memories are earlier than that! We always did a LOT of library books. But it could be newer than '67. What I remember is... 1. A car on a road, coming down a snowy hillside with trees on the skyline, and a city skyline far in the distance. 2. A very detailed, 2 or 3-story cutaway illustration of the interior of a Victorian farmhouse, with Grandma on the ground floor, carrying a turkey on a platter (between the kitchen and dining room?) very conventional grandma, white Gibson-girl up-do and an apron. There MAY have been grandchildren exploring the bedrooms on the upper floors. 3. A detailed cutaway illustration of Grandpa and the animals in the barn. This image is the haziest, I really don't have an image, just an absolute certainty that there was one of Grandpa and the animals in the barn, possibly mirroring Grandma-with-the-turkey... That's all I've got, there doesn't seem to be anything that "old" on-line, yet, that I can find. Lots of those elements point to an "Over the River and Through the Woods" story, but it's definitely NOT any edition commercially available in 2011. The art style was very clean and representational, no fancy artsy effects, not cartoonish as so much modern children's illustration is. Kind of a pastel Trina Schart Hyman? Thanks much in case anyone recognizes this, could provide any sort of clue! 1-31-2012"

B. Streetman said...

I'm not sure what that is but take this description and post it on whatsthatbook.com. The folks on that forum know everything. Hope that helps!

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