Cheerful, by Palmer Brown (1957), is one of the treasures I brought back from my visit this past December to the NYCPL's awesome bookstore.
Could not pass it up!
And now he looks so at home on my living room end table.
How fortunate for book lovers that this (little - 6 3/4" x 4 1/4") volume has been brought back into print by The New York Review Children's Collection.
This entrancing story, which is gorgeously illustrated, will delight children ages 4-6, as they follow the escapades of "Cheerful" the churchmouse and his family - his parents, his brother Solemnity, and his sisters, Faith and Hope.
"Last of all, there was Cheerful, who did have white feet, and long white whiskers too. Because his drooping whiskers made him look so sad when he was little, his mother said, "Be Cheerful!" And he tried to be, since that was his name Most of the time it was easy..."
His parents and brother and sisters are happy growing up in the bustling city, but Cheerful always wonders what it would be like to live in the country (he often lies in a favorite green shadow cast by a stained glass window, pretending it is a green field).
"Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
Guard the ground I stand upon!"
One day, he decides to leave home and travel to the countryside. He gets waylaid in fruit and vegetable pushcart, and consequently ends up in a Grandmother's kitchen.
You'll have to read the book to find out what happens, but the happy ending involves "a glorious egg of crystal sugar" (as a child were you intrigued by those panorama eggs with a peephole in one end? I was, and so were my kids!) that the little mouse finds in an Easter basket intended for the Grandmother's grand-daughter!
One of the cutest little books I've seen in a long time. I think you'll love it - and it would fit perfectly in your child's Easter Basket!
Palmer Brown (1920-2012) was the author and illustrator of five adorable books for children: Something for Christmas, Beyond the Pawpaw Trees and its sequel The Silver Nutmeg, Cheerful, and Hickory—all published by The New York Review Children’s Collection. (go here to order)
The New York Review Children’s Collection began in 2003 in an attempt to reward readers who have long wished for the return of their favorite titles and to introduce those books to a new generation of readers. The line publishes picture books for preschoolers through to chapter books and novels for older children. Praised for their elegant design and sturdy bindings, these books set a new standard for the definition of a “classic.” Among the titles you will find Wee Gillis, a Caldecott Honor Book by the creators of The Story of Ferdinand; Esther Averill’s time-honored Jenny and the Cat Club series; The House of Arden by E. Nesbit, one of J.K. Rowling’s favorite writers; several titles by the award-winning team of Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire, including their Book of Norse Myths and Book of Animals; James Thurber’s The Thirteen Clocks and The Wonderful O, both with illustrations by Marc Simont.