October 28, 2011

Christmas is in the air

     It’s funny how the seasons chase each other around the calendar, always one step ahead of us. Halloween isn’t even here yet and I’m already reading Christmas books. I say “it’s for inspiration- it’s for my work!” but honestly, they all see through my excuses. This is the year of the public library as we face another round of budget cuts, so I’ve been scrapping them off the shelves in the children’s section- ah nostalgia! Berenstein Bears, Richard Scary’s Best Christmas Book Ever! and Mousekin’s Christmas Eve are all oldies but goodies- but I’ve found a new gem this year, one I had forgotten all about since reading it as a child. Shirley Climo’s “The Cobweb Christmas” is a beautifully quiet little book, hidden away behind all the chipped, cracked and worn books on the children’s shelf that proves someone loves them, even still. I love when the old books are still in rotation at the library. So many of them get sold out back in the monthly book sales these days, never to be seen again.
     So, The Cobweb Christmas. What’s it all about? Well, it’s got little old granny-aunts; headscarves and quilts; all-seeing Santa’s and lovely old Christmas traditions, followed year after year. I love a good yearly tradition, don’t you? Forest animals and snow covered fields; tiny wooden houses, kindness to animals and a little bit of winter solitude.
     Here’s what it doesn’t have: greed, or bombs; desperation or video games; hustle and bustle or cities crammed full of nothing but shops. ahem. I’m just sayin.
     Possibly the best part of all, aside from the teensy-weensy little hint of morality running through this slim little volume, is the art that fills its pages. Very soothing and just a bit magical, Joe Lasker’s style is a lovely accent that brings this beautiful story to life. Soft colours, pencil drawn lines, lots of light and shadow- the images are just right.

Looking for a bit of magic this year? Pick up a copy of The Cobweb Christmas from your local library- and who knows? You might just find your next holiday tradition on the shelves nearby . . .

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