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)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Are you old enough to remember "Holly Hobbie"?   Her creator, the real Holly Hobbie, is an American writer and artist who was born in 1944. (Born Denise Holly Ulinskas, she married her husband Douglas Hobbie in 1964.)

Holly first sold her distinctive old-fashioned artwork of homespun children to American Greetings in the late 1960's.  The series of illustrations became so popular that her originally nameless character with the blue bonnet became known as "Holly Hobbie".

This cat-loving girl with a patchwork dress and over sized bonnet was all the rage during the 1960's and '70's. In 1974, Knickerbocker Toys licensed the Holly Hobbie character for a line of rag dolls.  (I think I may have even had a Holly Hobbie lunchbox at one time!)

The real life Holly Hobbie is the author of the Toot & Puddle picture books, The Art of Holly Hobbie (her illustrated memoir), and several others (too see a full list and read excerpts from all of her picture books click here). She's also the mother of three grown children, and lives with her husband in Conway, Massachusetts.

Last week I came across Holly Hobbie's newest book, an (almost) wordless story titled simply:  Gem.

Two letters - exchanged between and a Grandmother and her granddaughter - bookend this wordless story told in lush watercolor illustrations about a toad named "Gem" and his journey to Gram's garden. It's a perfect Spring tale, and made me almost feel like I was there watching this toad's adventure.

If you like Beatrix Potter, Joan Anglund Walsh, Jill Barklem, or Tasha Tudor books, you'll love Holly Hobbie's Gem.  Her precise watercolor artwork reminds me of another gifted favorite author/illustrator, whose book I'll be reviewing and giving away this month (to be revealed very soon...).


  1. I think Holly Hobby must be enjoying a revival, I have noticed a few blog posts about her recently. I always thought Holly Hobby was the name of the little girl character until recently. I must look up that book!

  2. I loved Holly Hobbie as a child, and never really put this together. Thanks for the information about her!

    By the way, you might be interested in taking a look at my new book coming out in May, called Under the Baobab Tree, published by Zonderkidz.