25 Days – Book 19: A Firefly in a Fir Tree

Christmas is coming so quickly. Last minute prep is under way before travel sets in. It is an exciting and hectic time, perfect for brief interludes with sweet little books. With a big emphasis on the little books, I plan to highlight four books in a tiny series over the next four days of our Advent countdown.

These are the Christmas Nutshell Library by Hilary Knight. The four books come in hardcover at 2.5″ x 3.5″ and have a little box for the entire set. Maurice Sendak’s Nutshell Library has recently been republished and is easier to find, but I finally tracked down this little set and we are delighting in it. Reveling in it really. I just love Hilary Knight’s illustrations so incredibly much. Please enjoy this peek at these vintage books. Good things really do come in small packages!

The first book I want to share is actually a play on the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song. Here is A Firefly in a Fir Tree by Hilary Knight, 1963.


As the pages are so tiny, there is little text and simple vignettes of a scene. The lovers are two little mice and every part of the song consists of things that exist in their small world: a firefly, holly berries, bluebells, nuts…. I haven’t figured out how to make the tune fit Knight’s alteration to the lyrics, but it is a delightful new way of putting the lovers’ gifts.


Few words for a tiny book. These are a big hit around here as little hands just love miniature books. The detail Hilary Knight managed to place, even with such limited space, is so incredible. He has a perfect pen sketch and character creation that is just added to with two colors. There is just enough and not too much, a difficult balance to reach.

I hope these little books bring you joy as this little mouse couple is surrounded by it. Stay tuned for the other books in the coming days!

Follow along our book adventure at 25 Days of Christmas Books 2014!

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