Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving doesn't get much love in the world of fiction. Movies and books set on Turkey Day are few and far between, and largely unmemorable. Below is one lovely exception, complete with a cranberry recipe in the back.

One of a series of books starring Maggie, her grandmother and the grumpy sea captain Mr. Whiskers.

About the authors
Harry Devlin (1918-2001) & Wende Devlin (1917-2002)
They met at Syracuse University and married in 1941. His art career took him to Collier's magazine, where he became a leading cartoonist and illustrator. When the magazine folded, they began a long and productive collaboration. The NJ town of Mountainside, where they lived much of their lives, has a collection of their work.

Cranberry Thanksgiving (1971)
Cranberry Mystery (1978)
Cranberry Halloween (1982)
Cranberry Christmas (1984)
Cranberry Valentine (1986)
Cranberry Birthday (1988)
Cranberry Summer (1992)
Cranberry Autumn (1993)
Cranberry Easter (1993)
Tales From Cranberryport: Moving Day (1994)
Tales From Cranberryport: Trip To The Dentist (1994)
Tales From Cranberryport: Maggie Has A Nightmare (1994)
Tales From Cranberryport: New Baby In Cranberryport (1994)
Tales From Cranberryport: Lost At The Fair (1995)
Tales From Cranberryport: First Day Of School (1995)

Old Black Witch (1963)
Old Witch And The Polka Dot Ribbon (1970)
Old Witch Rescues Halloween (1972)

The Knobby Boys To The Rescue (1965)
To Grandfather's House We Go: A Roadside Tour Of American Homes (1967)
Aunt Agatha, There's A Lion Under The Couch (1968)
What Kind Of House Is That? (1969)
What's Under My Bed? (1970)
Tales Of Thunder And Lightning (1975)
Portraits Of American Architecture (1989)
The Trouble With Henriette (1995)

The Official Wende and Harry Devlin Website
Harry And Wende Devlin
Mountainside Library Devlin Collection
Wiki article

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Ginnie And The New Girl, Catherine Woolley (1954)

A new favorite holiday for adults, Halloween has lost some of its luster in recent years for children. Of course, modern children do get sweet snacks on occasions other than Halloween and Christmas, but it still seems unfair that myths about poisoned candy and parental vapors about kidnappers resulted in a mass retreat from the joys of Halloween.

Below are a few lists of children's books which fit the season.

The House With A Clock In The Walls by John Bellairs
Ginnie And The New Girl by Catherine Woolley (chapter Ghosts And Goblins)
The Secret Language by Ursula Nordstrom (chapter Butterflies Or Ballet Dancers?)
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
Mr. McFadden's Halloween by Rumer Godden

Ghosts Who Went To School by Judith Spearing

The Wednesday Witch
by Ruth Chew (pretty much Ruth Chew's entire bibliography)
Little Witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennett
The Blue-Nosed Witch by Margaret Embry
The Littlest Witch by Jeanne Massey

Bunnicula by James Howe

The House With A Clock In The Walls by John Bellairs is, like most of Bellairs' books, warm and cozy and more than a little unnerving. The Halloween scene in which Lewis accidentally sets free a malevolent spirit is one of many that gives the book its strength as a genuine little horror novel for kids.
The Witches of Worm
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder is another. The story, which allows for a supernatural or psychological explanation, follows a girl's relationship with a stray kitten whose hideous appearance prompts the name Worm. Jessica becomes convinced that Worm is evil, a conduit for a coven of witches, and working against her.

Picture Books
Old Black Witch by Wende Devlin
The Witch Kitten by Ruth Carroll
How Spider Saved Halloween by Robert Kraus