Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Three Legends from Tomie dePaola

Tomie dePaola, born to Irish and Italian parents in 1934 in Meriden, Conneticut, arrived in this world near the end of the Great Depression and grew up during World War II, before television became a substitute for radio in American homes.  He recounts how his family appreciated books and creativity...
"Growing up before television," dePaola once commented, "I had what I can only consider the good fortune to be exposed to radio and I never missed that wonderful Saturday morning show, 'Let's Pretend'. I have always felt that that particular program, plus the fact that my mother was in love with books and spent many long hours reading aloud to my brother and me, were the prime factors that caused me to announce to my first grade teacher that when I grew up I was going to make books with pictures." 

I think the main reason Tomie dePaola's picture books are so popular is that his simple illustrations, with their bright colors and a folk art style, appeal to the child in all of us.   All for ages 4-8.

The Legend of the Indian PaintbrushThe Legend of the Indian PaintbrushThis vivid retelling of an old Texas legend reveals how the Indian paintbrush, the state flower of Wyoming, first bloomed, and how a young brave (Little Gopher) dreams of creating a painting that will capture the beauty of a sunset.

The Legend of the PoinsettiaThe Legend of the Poinsettia. Distressed because she has no other gift to offer Baby Jesus, Lucida carries into the church an armful of weeds, each of which suddenly becomes "tipped with a flaming red star"-marking the miraculous blooming of the first poinsettias.  Based on a Mexican folktale.

The Legend of Old Befana This is a delightful reading of a favorite Italian Christmas story about an eccentric old woman (like Russia's "Babushka") and her never-ending search for the Baby King.
The Legend of Old Befana

My First Christmas This cute board book for babies and toddlers shows the joys and traditions of Christmas.
My First Christmas

The Friendly Beasts (an Old English Christmas carol) I remember fondly this familiar carol from my childhood.  And I'm sure more than one children's Nativity play has been based on it! You can click here to see Tomie's illustrations, accompanied by the carol that is performed by Tennessee Ernie Ford.
The Friendly Beasts

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