books holiday/feast Inspiration

Reindeer Christmas

To tide you over while I work on my next post about our visit to the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden, I thought I would share a sweet way to bring some reindeer magic into your homes this year.

I recently purchased Reindeer Christmas by Mark Kimball Moulton for my children, but after reading it, I decided it was the perfect gift for our Elf on the Shelf to deposit on their breakfast dishes on December 1st.

“A December snow is falling, lightly dusting all the trees,blanketing the forest in a crystal filigree.”

books holiday/feast

Arrivederci Picture Book Month …

Today we shall bit a fond farewell to Picture Book Month 2011.  Let’s show it out in style with a (nearly) wordless post and allow pictures to speak instead.

books holiday/feast

Yes, Virginia: There Is a Santa Claus

Short and sweet is the order of the hour.  Two days remain until December, and that means two final opportunities to share a title in honor of Picture Book Month.  Today’s selection:

Yes, Virginia:  There Is a Santa Claus

by Chris Plehal

illustrated by James Bernardin

books holiday/feast Uncategorized

Tomie dePaola’s Holiday Picture Books

Lovers of Tomie dePaola may first want to visit my post on picture books for budding Italophiles in which I praise his Strega Nona series.  And, of course, I am not telling you anything you don’t already know when I rave about his much-beloved Christmas book Merry Christmas, Strega Nona:

Little House Uncategorized

Christmas with the Pioneers – 11/27/11

If you haven’t read my post about my passion for all things “Little House,” you may want to deviate and read this first.  If you’ve already done so, then you are up to speed and will readily understand why I’ve selected the following books today in honor of Picture Book Month.

Santa Comes to Little House

books holiday/feast

Christmas in the Country – 11/26/11

My second holiday-themed selection for Picture Book Month is:

Christmas in the Country

by Cynthia Ryland

illustrated by Diane Goode

books crafts holiday/feast toys

The Magic Sceptre: The Legend of Blue Santa Claus

“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.” ~ Henry Van Dyke

Thanksgiving and its merriment are behind us, but do let the gratitude for life’s simple blessings fill your heart in the days to come.  As we enter the holiday rush today, I am reminded of favorite Christmas books that grace our shelves but once a year.  We treasure them, drinking in their magic for so short a time, but their temporary visit makes them all the more special.  And so, for the final six days of November, I will select holiday-themed books in celebration of Picture Book Month.  What books bring you back to your childhood feasts?  Which do your children cherish most?

A number of years ago, my husband presented me with a book and a stuffed blue Santa Claus at Christmas.  Having never seen a smurf-colored Claus, I was perplexed, but the tale that unfolded in the pages of the book enchanted both me and my children.

The Magic Sceptre: The Legend of Blue Santa Claus

by Joan Klatil Creamer

books crafts holiday/feast Inspiration

A Thanksgiving Poem 11/24/11

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

Like most of you, I will spend my day surrounded by my family, sampling dishes prepared lovingly, and tucking away memories of this special time to recall as the year progresses.  One simple tradition I have with my children is to read Lydia Maria Child’s poem Over the River and Through the Wood on Thanksgiving morning.  My most beloved version is a board book illustrated by Christopher Manson, replete with woodcut images that bring alive a boy’s snowy journey to Grandfather’s house:


Ox-Cart Man – 11/23/11

Ox-Cart Man

By Donald Hall

Illustrated by Barbara Cooney

Ox Cart Man was first published as a poem by Donald Hall in The New Yorker magazine on October 3rd, 1977.

books Italy

Picture Books for Budding Italophiles 11/22/11

Let’s cut to the chase …

I am an Italian professor, and thus, I am a bit of a purist (read: snob) when it comes to books based on or set in Italy.  I’ll find one spelling mistake (biscottos) or a random incorrect fact, and I get right up on my horse, look down my nose, and turn away with disdain dripping from my every gesture.

Okay, perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration, but I do wholeheartedly wish that authors would do a little research before crafting a tale about the bel paese.  Of course, I realize this obsession is but a quirk of mine alone, and I’ve actually come to embrace books, especially picture books, that bring a little bit of Italy to their readers.