This is day 9 of our Christmas journey, and today we look at a story from 1972 by William Pene du Bois, Mother Goose for Christmas.
This is a Christmas Eve tale about misunderstandings, learning to be brave in sweet ways, and not jumping to conclusions—especially around the holidays!
The town is a quaint one where Mother Goose became a famous poet, and all the people she wrote about are her friendly village neighbors. A young boy spies two men kidnapping their dear Mother Goose and her gander on Christmas Eve and the villagers are horrified. They must sort out whatever details they can find and hope to save the day in their own festive way.
This is a very unique book. It is quite long, but has good flow and suspense. It is not very action-packed but thrives on descriptions and discussions. It is definitely a curl-up-together-and-read kind of book. The language of the book is also notable. There is much politeness, but there is also casual terms that we tend to not use anymore for political-correctness. For example, there are many references to fatness and someone looking like a “stupid man.” While I understand the desire to be kind and appropriate, I also see these references as meaning to be descriptive, not cruel. Books like this warrant good conversation and explanation about words and meanings.
I enjoy this book, especially the images. It is fun to think of Mother Goose’s many famous characters as real villagers who became the subject matter of her poems because of their odd habits or events. It is almost like seeing into the mind of famous writers and where they get their inspiration.
There are also lovely illustrations throughout, which is a strong characteristic of du Bois’ books. Most pages have great lengths of texts accompanied by an image here and there; but every couple of pages is a full spread of just illustration. They are a fun surprise and relief from the length of the story. They are also lovely to study as du Bois fills his images with delicate details.
William Pene du Bois is most well-known for his juvenile fiction stories (like The Twenty-One Balloons) which veer towards science fiction and focus more on imaginative ideas than on character development. Along with authoring many of his own books, he also illustrated for famous authors like Jules Verne and John Steinbeck. You can see a full list of his books on Page Books.
Does anyone eat Christmas goose? I keep reading about this tradition, especially in vintage children’s literature and I’m wondering if this still occurs or is a fading tradition.
Follow along our book adventure at 25 Days of Christmas Books.