Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tomie dePaola sheep adventures

A couple more books that we read before heading to the sheep shearing the other weekend were favorites by Tomie dePaola. Haircuts for the Woolseys is a gem we acquired at a local used bookstore. What a sweet little book! Charlie Needs A Cloak is another favorite that we borrowed from the library, although I'm convinced we own a copy if I could just unearth it...

In Haircuts for the Woolseys, the Woolsey children are dying to play outside in the lovely spring weather, although today is haircutting day.

The evening following the haircuts, a winter wind blows through and chills Fiddle-Dee-Dee Farms to the bone. Extra quilts are added to the sheep beds (isn't that adorable!)

And Granny settles in front of the fire for the evening.

The next day finds the Woolsey children playing outside in the spring snow with their new sweaters, knit from their own wool by Granny the night before. How adorable is that?!

In Charlie Needs A Cloak, Charlie clearly needs a new cloak as his old one is hanging in shreds over his shoulders.

After shearing his sheep...look at all those darling bald sheep!

And cleaning, carding and dyeing the that sheep barricading his wool from being dyed. :)

Charlie finally had a brand new beautiful cloak, courtesy of his sweet sheep. I love it!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pelle's New Suit

As we were getting ready to visit shearing day at our favorite local farm, we dragged out a few of our favorite shearing books to get us in the mood. Right at the top of my list, one of my favorite Elsa Beskow books, Pelle's New Suit.

Elsa Beskow's renowned artwork is in it's element here on a little Swedish farm with the beautiful birch trees, colorful clothes, hillside homes and sweet animals.

I love the sheep-to-suit story here, but I also appreciate the way Pelle earns the work required to make his suit. He visits both grandmothers, his own mother, and a tailor working on their labor while they each help with a piece of his suit.

And the sweet scene of Pelle dyeing his wool makes me want to hitch up my own dyeing kettle. It's almost warm enough for that around here so maybe I should!

The end finds Pelle, not only thanking his own sheep for his fine new blue suit, but with all the labors who helped Pelle watching from the background. If only we knew the hands who give us the clothes on our backs. What a community to celebrate!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ruth Krauss favorites

The first time I remember seeing this book was as an adult and it caught my eye because the boy on the cover so closely resembled the boy from my beloved The Little Fish That Got Away. There's a very good reason for that! It turns out that Crockett Johnson illustrated both books. Not only that, but he was married to Ruth Krauss, the author of The Carrot Seed, which is one of the longest published children's book. This lovely classic has been in print continuously since 1945!

Once I fell in love with the boy character similarity, I realized the text of the book is amazingly similar in style to the fishing book as well. I really like that simple repetitious text of many early children's books. It makes for a great first reading book.

The artwork is quite lovely in it's simplicity as well. I think you can really concentrate on the important points when you aren't bombarded by thousands of pictorial details on a single page. (Not that those books don't have their place too, as evidenced by Finn's love of Findus and Pettson.)

Another one of my favorite Ruth Krauss books is The Backward Day. Most children seem to love to see the ordinary turned extraordinary and having an entirely backward day is certainly extraordinary!

Finn giggles with glee when we get to the page where the boy puts his underwear on over his clothes. Oh, the humor of it all!

The illustration in this book is classic 1950s from the tablecloth to the hairstyles to the narrow variety of color. I love it! I also think it's very special to see the family of this little boy participate in his backward day and not just stare oddly at him. How refreshing for little readers to think they can mix up life and have their family joyously participate.

And "when backward day is done, backward day is done." And everyone just goes about their business like it's an ordinary day after all.