Day 3 of our Advent countdown brings a vintage book that I eagerly sought out this year. It is actually a Little Golden Book with six short stories about Christmas. And best of all, Richard Scarry did the illustrations! Allow me to share a bit of The Animals’ Merry Christmas by Kathryn B. Jackson, pictures by Richard Scarry, 1958.
The stories in this book are very cute, though a little obscure at times. They all center around anthropomorphized animals and cover subjects of simple gifts, snow, Christmas trees, cold, and the very first Christmas. But really, the best part is the illustrations by Richard Scarry. I know he is famous for his Busytown characters, but I greatly prefer his early work with the less stylized characters, a mid-century feel, and softer, more adorable creatures.
I love staring at his animals in their cute little clothes and their active postures. While I appreciate the first Christmas story being a part of the mix and also being told as a story from a mother donkey to a baby donkey, I don’t love the style of Joseph, Mary, or baby Jesus. Most especially, I dislike them all having halos. But that is a small pet peeve of mine and my children love any depiction of the Nativity anyway!
My favorite story/poem of the book is the “Green Christmas” one in the picture above. The first section of it is written from the animals’ perspective. They are thrilled that snow hasn’t fallen yet and their scavenging for food is unhindered. And the reverse side of the page is written from the human perspective, who long for beautiful snow to brighten up the festivities. Such a clever, adorable poem!
“And stars are bright, and the winds don’t blow.
Hurrah for Christmas and still no snow!”
Hope to see you tomorrow on my 25 Days of Christmas Children’s Books countdown!