Happy Tasha Tudor Day!

Here is the article I promised to link to in my Instagram post. Thank you, Emily, from Life at Blueberry Barn, for sharing your beautiful celebration and recreation of one of the most magical moments from Tasha Tudor’s books.


Happy Tasha Tudor Day! Today would have been Tasha Tudor’s 105th birthday. We love Tasha Tudor around here . . . every time I scour the thrift store bookshelves I hope to find books to add to our collection. I wish I could flip through the pages of her books with you so you could see for yourself how sweet and delightful her illustrations are.

Tasha always used the people, places, and objects around her as inspiration for her illustrations. Many of her drawings are of her own children, scenes from her farmhouse, flowers from her well-kept gardens, or of the pets she owned–none so premier as her beloved corgis. Tasha’s drawings are elaborate and exquisite, and capture best the innocence and joy of childhood and all its adventures.

Tasha illustrated classics such as Mother Goose, A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, and The Wind in the Willows, but also penned her own stories, many which describe her family’s unique traditions and celebrations, such as those in The Dolls’ Christmas and A Time to Keep.

Here is a list of our favorite Tasha Tudor books. Several of the books below are out-of-print, but they should be accessible through your library. They are also available to purchase on eBay or through Instagram booksellers. If pressed, my very favorite book on this list is Tasha Tudor’s A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. My children and I owe part of our love for poetry to Tasha.

A is for Annabelle by Tasha Tudor

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Tasha Tudor

The Dolls’ Christmas by Tasha Tudor

The Lord is My Shepherd: The Twenty-Third Psalm by Tasha Tudor

First Poems of Childhood by Tasha Tudor

Give Us This Day: The Lord’s Prayer by Tasha Tudor

1 is One by Tasha Tudor

Pumpkin Moonshine by Tasha Tudor

The Tasha Tudor Book of Fairy Tales by Tasha Tudor

A Time to Keep by Tasha Tudor


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Poetry Recommendation: Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris

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“The Children’s Hour”

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
That is known as the Children’s Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O’er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!


I discovered this poem in a collection of poetry titled Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris. The pastel yellow book accompanies me most days to the homeschooling table and in the brief moments of quiet when my children are huddled over their work, I mark poems I would like to read-aloud to them or assign for their memorization work.

The collection is comprehensive (the book itself is almost 600 pages) and includes poems from authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Walter de la Mare, Christina Rossetti, Alfred Tennyson, William Shakespeare, Edward Lear, and J.R.R. Tolkien. The poems are divided into categories with playful titles like “My Almanac,” “It’s Fun to Play,” “Bird-watcher,” “From the Family Scrapbook, and “Almost Any Time is Laughing Time.” The double-page introducing each category is illustrated with attractive line drawings by the talented Leonard Weisgard. Since the poems themselves are not illustrated, the book is best for a graduating young reader who wants to digest more poetry or for reading-aloud to children of multiple ages.

I will not add this to my nursery classics booklist until I have read through it in its entirety, but I have a strong suspicion it will earn a place.

favoritepoemsoldandnew

Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard


Have you discovered any wonderful poetry collections? Please share in the comments below.

Looking for more poetry recommendations? Click here.

 

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How am I to sing your praise?

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“Picture-Books in Winter”

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Summer fading, winter comes
Frosty mornings, tingling thumbs,
Window robins, winter rooks,
And the picture story-books.

Water now is turned to stone
Nurse and I can walk upon;
Still we find the flowing brooks
In the picture story-books.

All the pretty things put by,
Wait upon the children’s eye,
Sheep and shepherds,
trees and crooks,
In the picture story-books.

We may see how all things are,
Seas and cities, near and far,
And the flying fairies’ looks,
In the picture story-books.

How am I to sing your praise,
Happy chimney-corner days,
Sitting safe in nursery nooks,
Reading picture story-books?


I was unfamiliar with the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson until I saw the title A Child’s Garden of Verses on John Senior’s nursery booklist. Since then I have become extremely fond of Stevenson’s poetry and will always recommend A Child’s Garden of Verses if asked what poetry book to first invest in for a child’s library (apart from an excellent Mother Goose collection). Stevenson’s poems delightfully and wisely capture the joy, curiosity, and imagination of children. A Child’s Garden of Verses is also the first book I reach for when looking for poems for my young children to memorize.

The full text of A Child’s Garden of Verses is available at Gutenberg.org. If you are looking for a printed edition, I recommend the version illustrated by Tasha Tudor. Her illustrative style is a perfect match for Stevenson’s poetry.

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A Poem for Advent

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“The House of Christmas”

by G.K. Chesterton

There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honor and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam,
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost—how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky’s dome.

This world is wild as an old wives’ tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.

Found in The Home Book of Verse – Volume 1 by Burton Egbert Stevenson, on Gutenberg.org

 

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