Monday, November 28, 2011
The sunny town of Menlo Park boasts some really lovely shops, some extraordinarily expensive charity shops with real fur coats in them, boutiques with outrageously decadent gifts for the very wealthy, and little places to eat in many convenient locations.
So, here I am. It's May, I'm turning thirty, and I'm spending the day out by myself while my husband takes a class towards his master's degree. The day is a gift from my husband and I am happy, blissfully aware that I don't have to worry about bored kids or an impatient spouse, and I opt for a stroll. Then just a block or two from our parked car I find it. Feldman Books. The front isn't anything to write home about. It's an old building with a little wooden door and two big picture windows piled with books but I get a little thrill that goes right down to my fingertips. My family is a book family and we prize bookstores that look like this, unsure of what treasures we'll find inside but certain there will be something worth getting. Outside as I stand on the street there is the noise of passing vehicles but inside is cool and dark with the pervasive smell of must and leather that goes hand in hand with books. My sister and I found a bookstore like this in London. You don't know where the back is. You don't know where the little passageways lead. You wander, looking for genres you can sink your teeth into.
I'm happy with what I'm adding to my collection but I'm secretly aware that what I really want is a bookstore of my own where all the books are beautiful and all of them are mine. I want soft leather chairs you can sink into, low yellow lighting that warms the pages as you turn them, a bookstore cat that won't sit on your lap but makes everything a little more homey, the promise of a good cup of hot chocolate from a coffee shop nearby, and the quiet dense feel of living in a bookshop. All your friends are here. Prince Andre is having tea with Ebeneezer Scrooge. Frog and Toad have taken down the cookie jar and are giving cookies to all the waterbabies. Miss Elizabeth Bennett is in an earnest discussion with Andre-Louis Moreau and Mr. Psmith is dueling with Captain Hook and winning without looking. He's more interested in the chess set that Mr. Holmes and Mr. Poirot are playing. I don't know whose winning but Poirot's eyes are very green.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Author / Illustrator: By the Brothers Grimm, freely translated from the German by Paul Heins and Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
Go Get It: Snow White on Amazon US. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have been reprinted yet and is more expensive but really worth it.
A Little About The Author / Illustrator: I've already written about Trina Schart Hyman HERE. One thing that's interesting in her stories is her self-portraits. In this story she is the face of the wicked Queen the first time she changes into a peddler to deceive Snow White.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
I'm putting out this list a little early for those earlybird Christmas shoppers who need to get things ordered on time. All I can say is God bless Amazon two-day shipping for those of us who remember last minute things. As a little aside my sister Lizzie made me think about how I shop for books nowadays. We were in the mall and she had popped down to a new bookstore to see what they had and come back disappointed as they weren't really stocked up yet. She mentioned having gone to several bookstores trying to find a book and would have to order it online. I seem to take the opposite approach these days and order on Amazon, Abebooks, Alibris, or even Ebay before I try and find it in a bookstore. That seems a little sad to me as I write this but I think the days of going to bookstores with an agenda are over. I love bookstores and go to great ones for the sheer pleasure of wandering through shelves of beautiful books, but I don't go with an aim in mind. The world of books is changing.
The Christmas Train HERE
by Ivan Gantschev
This is a lovely story about a child who saves a train on Christmas Eve by dragging her Christmas tree onto the train tracks and lighting it on fire to warn the train of danger ahead.
The Jolly Christmas Postman HERE
By Janet and Allan Ahlberg
By Janet and Allan Ahlberg
I'll admit this book can take awhile to read because of all the little goodies in the envelopes on every page but my daughter finds it enchanting and it is well done. Ride with the Jolly Postman as he delivers Christmas letters to all the fairytale inhabitants.
My Little Library of Christmas Classics: The Night Before Christmas; The Nutcracker; Christmas Carols; The Fir Tree HERE
By Diane Goode
This little set seems to be getting lost on the bookshelves but I hope they reprint it soon. These little books are beautifully illustrated, a perfect size for little hands, and a perfect stocking stuffer.
Santa's Favorite Story HERE
Written by Hisako Aoki and Illustrated by Ivan Gantschev
Christmas may be canceled this year because Santa is too tired to deliver all his packages. The forest animals are worried, but when Santa tells them the story of the very first Christmas, when Christ was born, the animals discover the true spirit of the season.
Madeline's Christmas HERE
By Ludwig Bemelmans
Out of all the Madeline books, this was at the top of the list for me. The illustrations are deeply colorful and with a magic carpet ride, a zoo in the snow, and beautiful presents, you'll want to turn the page to see what's next. Madeline...not just for girls.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Author / Illustrator: By Jack Kent
What's It All About: A man and a woman live in a little cottage and have only turnips to eat they are so poor. Next door lives a wealthy farmer with a cow. The man and woman dream of cheese and milk to eat. The man looks for something to trade the wealthy farmer but all he can find is a pair of red socks. He takes them anyway and lo and behold the wealthy farmer trades him milk and cheese for the socks. The man and woman love the meal and want more but where can they get more red socks? The woman begins to knit more socks with the man's sweater and again he trades the socks for milk and cheese. What will happen when his sweater runs out? Read on.
Socks For Supper at Alibris in hardback. It has not been re-released as far as I can tell and that makes it harder to find one in good condition for little but here's a good try.
A Little About The Author / Illustrator: