“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” — Burton Hills
During this holiday week, I’m busy enjoying time with my family. I hope you’re doing the same. In the meantime, I recommend reading an old favorite of mine called The Relatives Came written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Stephen Gammell. It’s a delightfully charming book about family that will warm your heart.
I know a library is supposed to be a warm cozy place, but this is ridiculous. The temperature outside is ten below zero, and the temperature in my library is eighty degrees! I’m melting like the Wicked Witch of the West. Where’s the crank when you need one?
Let me explain. My library, which used to be the girls bathroom, has pipes that bang and clang and heat that radiates like the desert sun even though the thermostat is turned off. In order to provide relief – especially when twenty-five students cram into the room – I need a crank to open the window. There is only one crank available for those of us who have our rooms in the lower level of the school – affectionately known as “down in the hole.” Because the crank is a very popular item, it does a disappearing act quite often.
I’m in hot pursuit of the crank. I find it cowering in a corner next to a closet in the hallway. I triumphantly grab it and proceed to my window. Holy snow angels! Frozen snow is piled solidly against my window and has rendered my old-fashioned air conditioning unit unless! Alas, my room has now become a multipurpose room – a library and a sauna. Let the sweat begin!
Books with cranky but loveable characters:
Princess Justina Albertina by Ellen Dee Davidson
Piggie Pie! by Margie Palatini
No, David! by David Shannon
When Sophie Gets angry — Really, Really Angry… by Molly Bang
Julius The Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes
Wolves by Emily Gravett
“Do give books…for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.” ─ Lenore Hershey
I love picture books. I love the feel of them, the smell of them, the glorious illustrations in them, and the words that make them a treasure to possess. I especially love Christmas books. I’ve been collecting them since I was young. Yes, my family thinks I have too many of them, but each year, I find a new one that I just can’t resist.
This year as I was going through my shelves of holiday books, I happened to find an old – and I do mean old – book I had added to my collection long ago. It was given to a family member as a Christmas present in 1914! It’s called The Christmas Book and is illustrated by G.A. Davis, who used a combination of muted tones and full color illustrations. It’s water-stained and falling apart, but it still has that charm that I love about Christmas books.
The book is divided into three parts. The first part is called “The Night Before Christmas” and includes Clement C. Moore’s poem.
The next section is called “Christmas Day.” It begins with the children awakening on Christmas morning and goes through all the activities they take part in during the day.
The final section of the book is called “The Day After Christmas.” It’s a parody of Clement C. Moore’s poem and describes the aftermath of too many Christmas Day festivities.
Notice the text where it says, “All the sweets that they get – toys and books are the best.” Way back then someone knew books were best, too!
Even though this book hasn’t withstood the “hands of time” as well as some, it was special to one family member a long time ago, and it’s still special to me.
Do you have a favorite old Christmas book?
Snow is on the ground and it’s “brrrr-eezing” outside. It’s hard to believe that two weeks ago my husband and I were in Chicago with our daughter, enjoying a beautiful sunset from the Signature Lounge at the 96th in the John Hancock Center.
Our daughter is on her own and lives way too far away from us as far as her dad and I are concerned. Because of this, the times we spend together are all the more special. She reminds me of the bunny in Margaret Wise Brown’s, The Runaway Bunny. You know the one who keeps running away only to be found by his loving mother each time.
After graduating from high school, our daughter became a lacy snowflake and fell onto the ground of a school in the Midwest instead of a school in the Northeast where we lived at the time. Then we moved back to the Midwest, and she became a mighty steam engine and chugged off to graduate school in a neighboring state. Then she became a ray of California sunshine and beamed into the UCLA Medical Center for her externship and final year of school. With each move she made, we hugged her and loved her and hoped the next move would bring her closer to us.
Think again Mom and Dad! Unlike the bunny that finally chooses to stay at home with his mother, our daughter chose differently. After graduation, she became a jet stream going from the west coast to east coast and landed a job in Boston. That little runaway bunny has worn us out hopping all over the U.S. We visit her and she visits us, but there is never enough time to hug her and love her the way we would like.
Someday we’ll change all that. When she’s least expecting it, she’ll come home from work and find that we’ve moved in with her! Ha!