Saturday, October 29, 2011

Favorite Children's Book Illustrators

Although our children, now 21 and 13,  have gotten past the ages of reading these beautiful picture books, they still have a fond place in my heart. Especially at this time of year, I cannot help thinking of the heart-warming  illustrations from Ox-Cart Man, illustrated by Barbara Cooney, and Flannel Kisses, illustrated by Mari Takabayashi.  So every year at this time, I bring them out and look at them myself, and remember reading both of these, year after year, to the boys.  There was even a  Reading Rainbow episode where they visited Old Sturbridge Village, in Massachusetts (where I remember visiting as a young girl with my friend, Stacy, and our mothers).  In this episode, the book, Ox-Cart Man was read by Lorne Greene  -- you can watch the episode in its entirety here:

Here are my favorite books illustrated by Barbara Cooney:
      photo from
Ox-Cart Man

photo from
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story
Buy : Miss Rumphius
Miss Rumphius from

When I think of Flannel Kisses, I think of the year we moved from New Jersey to our house here in Virginia.  The house in New Jersey was a really great house, situated on an acre and a half, partially wooded lot.  It had a gigantic kitchen, light colored wood floors and a grand foyer with TWO large coat closets!  The nursery had 3 large windows that overlooked the valley below and hills beyond, and a Laura Ashley wallpaper border of the nursery rhyme Hickory, Dickory Dock and the Cow Jumping Over the Moon, which my husband, parents and I installed.  Brian and I also made one very large wooden cornice for the windows using the same wallpaper border to cover it.  It was a  bittersweet move to Virginia, because as much as I looked forward to moving to a new and exciting place -- I have always loved visiting DC -- I was going to very much miss our old house, friends and life in New Jersey.  So after looking at about a hundred houses, none of which seemed right, and pretty much overly tired of house hunting, I somehow knew this house would be the one for us.  I then had to leave to go back to NJ to sell the other house.  When I came back 3 months later after the closing, and not really remembering what the new house looked like anymore, I was pleasantly surprised -- there were nice dark wood floors on most of the main level, even in the kitchen -- I had forgotten about that!  Anyway, and this is where Flannel Kisses comes in, because our younger son was at the perfect age for reading that story, I read it a lot, and in it saw our new home -- wooden floors, staircase... and happy family in it.  Nine years later, I still love these dark wood floors -- they are so warm and forgiving to walk on in your bare feet, even in the coldest months...

 These are my two favorite books illustrated by Mari Takabayashi:

Flannel Kisses from

Marshmallow Kisses from


  1. I find myself thinking of childhood books and their illustrations this time of the year-maybe it's the holidays : ) Good post!

  2. I love the story and pictures in Miss Rumphius! Thanks for the reminder about that one because I haven't read it with my daughter yet.