Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Books We Like

In my humble opinion, there is really no better gift for a child than a book. Sure, they won't go ga-ga over it in the thrill of the unwrapping moment - they will play with the battery-operated flotsam and jetsam first. But in the quiet hours, after the party-goers have gone home and things have settled down, they will time after time crawl into your lap and say, "You read this to me, Mom?" If you read it, they will come.

There are so many books for children that focus on the outdoors and the natural world, but my particular favorites are all illustrated by a very talented artist living in Massachusetts, Leslie Evans. She is owner and operator of Sea Dog Press "the production studio for Leslie Evans Illustration. The Press in question is a Vandercook #4 Proof Press, an ideal machine for printing relief blocks, such as linocut, woodcut and wood engraving. The press was formerly used to proof linotype." Her work is done entirely by hand and need I tell you how nice it is to support a woman owned and operated business?

Of all her work, my favorite is actually a series: Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn, feature clever alphabet acrostics written by author Steven Schnur. Leslie's hand-colored linoleum-cut illustrations are so evocative of the seasons they represent and capture their essence so precisely, that after reading Winter you may actually pine for those colder days even in the midst of summer! The glossy pages are beautiful to look at and are wonderfully detailed.

I purchase all four books at once and give them as a complete set for birthdays, holiday gifts, and even to newborn babies. I also own a complete set for my children. These books, and others illustrated by Leslie, can be purchased directly from Amazon. You can never start reading, and appreciating beautiful art, too soon! I leave you with an acrostic from Leslie's book, Summer:

Of tiny
Stinging insects
Quick to strike
Unsuspecting victims
In the
Of mid-


johndira said...

We love the set you once gave to Alec though they are told to be "very careful" when handling them. Also, I must recount a quick story. Recently at a NY dollar store the kids were waiting in the car (with grandma) and John and I came out with 2 small gifts for each son (among other items). We gave Alec a small spider-man ball and he smiled. I then pulled out a fire-truck book and he leaned forward and grabbed it yelling "a book!!!" I smiled with delight that the book brought more of a reaction than the ball...RD

SusieJ said...

Coming up for air at a local wifi spot -- and I have to say. Every year at Christmas I buy the kids one or two special books. They grumpily open them. No toys. They go back to their new toys to play. 15 minutes later -- every year, every one of them is sitting on the couch perusing their new books -- for aobut 45 minutes. Great post -- and it's almost time to start doing that dreaded shopping again.