Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Becky's Birthday

Becky's Birthday
Tasha Tudor ~ The Viking Press, 1960


With the holidays close at hand, I turn to the timeless Tasha Tudor, always, to help usher in the season. A Time to Keep was one of my all-time childhood favorites with lessons on how to celebrate every holiday with the proper old-time magic. (You won't find a better present for a baby shower. It's as necessary for a child as Make Way for Ducklings or Where the Wild Things Are, only filled with extra special sweetness.) The birthday chapter with its lighted cake floating down the river is especially enchanting, and here, we see a girl's birthday celebration fleshed out in its all-day grandeur.

The sun shone in at the window and brought Becky wide awake. She sat up in bed. "This is my birthday," she said. "I am ten years old!" She didn't feel any older, but she felt very excited. The birds singing in the lilac bushes seemed to be saying, "Happy birthday!" And the roosters in the barnyard were crowing the same thing. Becky jumped out of bed and put on her clothes.

What commences is the sweetest celebration filled with new skills learned and responsibilities earned, handmade ice cream and chilled ice tea, chickens and cows and kittens, games and a picnic, followed by the familiar floating confection.

A day where the best thrill of all is knowing you are a year wiser.

Tasha truly lived in the enchanted world she created within her books. Each title a reflection of her own experiences and reality.

Sadly, she passed away in 2008.

The world is a lesser place without Tasha's spirit alive within it, but at least her drawings and books will stay around for a while longer. The companion book, Becky's Christmas, has alluding my grasp so far, but I keep hoping...

Also by:
1 is One
A Time to Keep
Pumpkin Moonshine
First Graces
Five Senses
Tale For Easter
Snow Before Christmas

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5 comments:

LeeAnn Balbirona said...

Wow, you're lucky to have a copy of Becky's Birthday at those prices for used copies! I have a small collection of Tasha Tudor books and they are among my favorites. Some were given to me when I was a child and some I bought for my own children. Hard to choose a favorite but "A Time to Keep" and "The Tasha Tudor Book of Fairy Tales" have some of the best illustrations.

Jil Casey said...

Tasha Tudor was such an interesting person. I read a book about her life a few years ago, I think her children were very lucky to have her as a mom.

Peggy Lorenz said...

I am lucky enough to have both Becky's Christmas and Becky's Birthday...I read them each year, and just love them!

Anonymous said...

Wow! This book popped into my mind today, nearly 50 years after I read it, and a quick internet search led me to the illustration that so enchanted me as a child--the cakes floating down the river! Just seeing it again was amazing!
I don't remember the story. Can someone tell me why the cakes were floating down the river???

Anonymous said...

The cakes were floating down the river because some member of the family (Dad?) was ingenious enough to make little rafts, balance cakes, lit candles and flowers onto them, and float them downstream at the proper time. so they could be pulled ashore.

My personal likelihood meter suggests that if I tried to do such a thing to delight a child, it would end with tipped boats, wet kids, candles that blew out in the wind, etc...But it was such a marvelous image and a wonderful part of the story.

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