Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Diane's Top 5 Christmas Book Countdown, Part 5

I wanted to blog about this book:


McDuff's New Friend
 by Rosemary Wells

But- son of a nutcracker!- it's no longer in print.

So, here's our final book:


The Nutcracker

Here's what both books have in common- they are both illustrated by the super fantastic Susan Jeffers, one of my favorite illustrators that you might not know about.  Susan has done some other non-Christmas related picture books that are Little Shop faves like



and
and




I was first introduced to Jeffers work when Nick was a baby (he's now going on 14) when we began reading the awesomely sweet McDuff series by Rosemary Wells, which are the stories of a Westie with attitude who loves to eat vanilla rice pudding with sausages on top.  I never considered myself a small dog person but after seeing how beautifully Jeffers could capture the expressions of this spirited and spunky little fellow, I now know that some day I will have a Westie to call my own.  And I will definitely name him McDuff- or perhaps D-Duff, which is what Nick called him.

Long story short is this:  I am so so sad that the McDuff books are going away.  They were little treasures.

Fortunately for all of us, however, we still have lots more of Jeffers' work to gaze at.  Her rendition of The Nutcracker is the best I've ever seen.  The Nutcracker can be a possibly long and complex story but Jeffers' simple text makes this a perfect selection for a younger child just being introduced to the story, especially prior to seeing the ballet. 

And it is a feast for the eyes, as well!  The soft color palette she works in is so lovely, just like the Sugar Plum Fairy.  Her watercolors are dreamy and romantic, yet in a wonderfully child friendly way.  It is certain to become a Christmas classic.

Hope you've enjoyed reading about my favorite Christmas books.  There are so many more!  Perhaps I can share them with you next year?

Merry Christmas to All!
-Diane

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