I have always loved books.
I still love books.
Recently, I read this poem by David McCord about books.
Books fall open,
you fall in,
you’ve never been;
hear voices not once
reach world on world
through door on door;
keys to things
locked up beyond
What might you be,
because one book
is somewhere? Some
wise dever into wisdom, wit,
has written it.
True books will venture,
dare you out,
across the gloom
to you in need,
who hanker for
a book to read.
And of all my reading loves, picture books are at the very top. Believe it or not, their reading levels are sometimes higher than chapter books, and many read more like prose than a narrative. They also often teach HUGE, c-o-m-p-l-i-c-a-t-e-d, and difficult subjects with the lightest touch, the deepest insight, and innocent conclusions.
Having said all that, I mostly enjoy picture books because they combine the best art with the best stories.
Mostly they are just plain fun.
There are several picture books in our house that have THE BEST dwelling places. Places I wish I lived. Let me share.
This is a page from “Good Night!” by Claire Masurel & Marie H. Henry. It is one of my favorite bedtime books, in which the young French girl gets all her stuffed animals in bed. I would just LOVE to live in this house that seems filled with gentle clutter; solid wooden toys; soft pillows, chairs, and towels; heavy, exposed, old barn beams; and warmly lit rooms. Mmmmm. I feel snuggly just talking about this book.
Wouldn’t you want to live in this house right next to a lake? I would. Look at the stonework, and the porch, and the barn-style door. Better yet, imagine the fireplace inside. Perfect? right? But you have got to read the book. Mr. and Mrs. Peters have seven kids,
. . .and as each child comes along, they each have their own food requirements. Just look at the picture illustrated by Marla Frazee. The dog is in the house, a child is on the potty with the door open, the baby is pulling the cat’s tail, the girl is tattle-taling, and the boy–doesn’t he look excited–he is going to lob those snowballs regardless of the tattle-taling and tears. Oh boy, this describes our household right now.
The entire book is written in rhyme by Mary Ann Hoberman. If your household ever looks like the above illustration, then you will love this book.
The house of “Seven Silly Eaters” is the opposite of the house in “Where Did Baby Go?” by Sheila Hayes. In fact, every house that Eloise Wilkin illustrates radiates soothing peace and comfort. I own at least 12 books illustrated by Eloise Wilkin and love each one. Eloise’s homes have fires in the fireplace, bread in the oven, and the smells of clean laundry and a hot iron. Eloise’s books have wooden floors, and cozy beds. After reading any of the books Eloise illustrated, you will find yourself relaxing and slowing down. She always makes daily life seem so important and desired.
As a child, I always wished that I lived in this brick house with the climbing Clematis by the front door. A house that had its own stream and a softly lowing cow. A house where you could see the mountains and the star-filled sky. (Illustration from “My Little Golden Book About GOD” by Jane Werner Watson)
Another illustrator whose images always evoke the love of home, nature, and daily life, is Ashley Wolff. This illustration by Ashley Wolff is from her book, “A Year of Birds.” Each month has a specific bird associated with the month, but the block-prints also tell their own story of a family that is just being–snow angels, bike rides to get the mail, gardens, swimming in the pond, and crafts in the kitchen. Nothing exotic, nothing expensive, nothing complicated–just the daily joys of a simple life with nature surrounding you.
As is the case with all of these artists and illustrators, they have many more great books to discover. I enjoy her Gardening ABC book.
Moving to a warmer climate, I would love to live in this splendid pink house in the Caribbean. I wouldn’t mind selling pineapples and bananas and looking out over the gorgeous tropical sea. This illustration from Jan Bret’s book “The Owl and the Pussycat” just warms up my cold, February, bones.
Jan Brett’s illustrations of Edward Lear’s classic poem turn the silly poem into a love story. Not just of one couple, but of two.
And if “the turkey who lived on the hill” ever left us his estate in his will, I think I could handle living there also. Bougainvillea, Traveler’s Palm, Orchids, Royal Palms, Mimosa Trees. . . I love tropical gardens.
And since we are dreaming, why not throw in the Berenstain Bear’s house in the tree with the pink trim. Ever since I was a child I loved their house.
Wouldn’t you like a house in the country with pink trim in a tree? I would.
These two illustrations are from “The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature.” It is a great science book that also is written in rollicking rhyme. Science and poetry, a rare combination.
I could almost live in Little Critter’s treehouse, except for the spiders, and the mice, and the frogs. Still, perhaps I like this house because its messes might resemble our messes.
But perhaps my favorite house of all is “Old Mother Rabbit who lived in a shoe. She had so many children and knew exactly what to do.” She tucks into bed all her bunny babies from Abel to Zed. Her house is a shoe, and the most adorable house around.
I am so infatuated with this house, that I even drew out a floor plan based on all the rooms shown in the book.
This room with the green wallpaper, lemon tree, potted ferns, and large toe-shaped window is my favorite. I would just love to sit on the upholstered chairs and read a good book.
Hope you also discovered new authors and illustrators to share with your kiddos or grand-kiddos, or nieces, or nephews, or neighbor-kiddos.
Hope you enjoyed your Picture Book Home Tour.
Your tour guide,
I’d love to hear about your favorite picture book house. By commenting you will be automatically entered into the give-away of “Wonders of Nature” illustrated by Eloise Wilkin.
P.S. Below are links to all of these books. If you wish to buy any, click on the link, and it will take you to Amazon.com