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)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Daffodils and A.A. Milne

On a recent visit to the Santa Ynez Valley to celebrate my upcoming birthday (it's a big one this year, more on that in another post) my husband and I stayed in the tiny town of Ballard, at a quaint bed and breakfast inn.  

Springtime was in evidence everywhere - we saw wisteria, ranunculus, poppies, and A.A. Milne's favorites: daffodils.

I learned this interesting tidbit about Milne from my blog friend, Brian Sibley (Brian is a multi-talented British radio broadcaster, writer, and photographer. I hope you check out his blog.)  

We were commenting back and forth on a photo he'd posted of daffodils, "Easter Gold", with a short verse by Milne.  He told me that Milne was especially fond of daffodils, called his wife, Daphne, "Daff", and had included this poem in Now We Are Six (April is National Poetry Month, after all)...


She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
and whispered to her neighbor:
"Winter is dead."

Brian's comment and Milne's poem prompted me to comment further that I knew of a picture book by Milne, The Magic Hill, about a princess named Daffodil. Published in 2000, with illustrations by Isabell Bodor Brown, it was written originally by A.A. Milne in 1925.  I had been so excited to discover a fairy tale by Milne and had included it in this post I did about Princess books!

Brian gave me details about the history of Milne's original story - why is Brian so knowledgeable about A.A. Milne?  Mr. Sibley wrote all about Milne's bear in Three Cheers for Pooh!, to commemorate Pooh's 75th Anniversary.

Brian is really a walking encyclopedia when it comes to many classic authors, illustrators, books, films, and Disney!   

He commented: "The Magic Hill first appeared in a curious book, A Gallery of Children: a collection of stories written by Milne to accompany a series of paintings by Henrietta Willebeeck Le Maire in 1925. Here is her original painting of The Magic Hill" (linked).

Well - now I've got to add A Gallery of Children to my own library!  It contains twelve A.A. Milne stories along with Henrietta Le Maire's gorgeous artwork - you can see some of the illustrations here.

Back to Santa Ynez Valley, where all this talk of daffodils started...the town of Ballard is so cute, I have to share some pictures.  In reality, it is more of an intersection than a town, with our B&B on one corner, and a church on the other!

One morning we walked around the corner and down the street from our B&B, and saw a wonderful little red schoolhouse. It was founded in 1882 (ironically, that was the year A.A. Milne was born).  The best part is that the school house is still in use!

There are modern facilities that were built right next to it in the 1980's, as more classroom space for K-8 was needed. You can read about the history of the Ballard School here.

So here's to small towns, Easter, daffodils and A.A. Milne - from my house to yours!


  1. I love the picture of that school! How neat is that??? This whole post was very interesting. I love my Winnie the Pooh, but I admit I've never read anything else by Milne. I'll have to seek these out!

    1. Danzel - all Milne's original Winnie-the-Pooh books and his poetry are delightful!! Even better than the Disney versions! :) http://www.goodreads.com/author/list/81466.A_A_Milne

  2. Replies
    1. Me too! When I was a young girl we lived in Tennessee, and our home had daffodils lining the walkway up to the house - it was so fun each spring to watch them sprout up and flower. :)

  3. I've not read any Milne other than Winnie the Pooh, so this is a revelation! Thank you :)