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)

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Have you ever wondered what those "Four Calling Birds" are all about? (Explanation to follow...)  

Are these calling birds?

Definitely not these guys...

Hmmm. [source]

My favorite:
source: Anne Geddes
There's a reason the stanza about "calling birds" doesn't make much sense: the original line in the song The 12 Days of Christmas names four "colly birds", an alternate word for the Common Blackbird. The Blackbird is a common backyard bird in Europe and has a melodious song. It also lives in Asia, North Africa and it has been introduced to Australia and New Zealand. [source: Birdorable.com]

In England a coal mine is called a colliery and colly or collie is a derivation of this and means black like coal. 

For a long time in England, blackbirds have been referred to as both blackbirds (as in the nursery rhyme Sing a Song of Sixpence) and colly birds as in The Twelve Days of Christmas.

As to why the person in the song would give his true love a gift of blackbirds, the answer is that this would have been another gift of food. Blackbirds were plentiful and were a common food. [source: Hubpages.com]

Mystery solved.  


  1. ah ha! Well, I had no idea. You learn something new every day! I suppose I always thought they were something like a parrot that would talk or call out, lol!

  2. Really enjoying your 12 days series...Happy New Year! :)