It does not happen often enough, but every so often the publishing industry does something that absolutely pleases me. Anyone who has read my reviews will know that I spend much time and use much ink in lamenting the loss of great old children's books; you know; those you remember as a kid but can now only find on the bottom shelf on use book stores and estate auctions. We are loosing so much so quickly. We are loosing timeless and quality works.
Anyway, we have a reissue from back in the late 1970s here. This one was first published as "A Starlit Sumersault Downhill," an unfortunate title in my opinion and I often times have wondered `what were they thinking." Well all this has been corrected and a wonderful work is again available. This makes me happy.
Between the writer, Nancy Willard and the Artist, Jerry Pinkney these two have won just about every children's book award available; many several times. These two simply do not turn out bad stuff folks.
This is the story of a rabbit and a bear. Winter is coming, the "hawk is flying," and the bear tries to talk the rabbit into sleeping the cold season away together in the bear's nice warm den.
Now adults enjoy art and adults enjoy poetry and adults enjoy when the two forms are blended together to make something quite different that the two parts standing alone. Both are beautiful, both fulfilling but when you put them in the same mixing bowl...well, you get something very special.
"My cave's so warm, my fur so deep,
no storm shall stir us out of sleep.
And I have made a rustling bed
of moss and marsh grass, newly dead.
Rabbit is tempted; hey, it is a great offer. But rabbits have got to be rabbits and bears have got to be bears. All creatures, we humans included, must follow our nature; we are all individuals.
"The rabbit sighed. `How ripe and sweet
this patch of clover by my feet!
The fields are broad, the hills are wide,
A pity we should stay inside.'"
I absolutely love the mellow rhyme of the author's gentle poem. It is soothing; it is profound.
And as to the art work of Jerry Pinkney...well, if I could handle watercolors the way this man can, I would die a happy man! Truth!
This entire reissue is an absolute delight to the eye and ear. It is a perfect bedtime story and a perfect story for a stormy winter day by the fire. Do your kid and yourself a favor and treat yourselves to this one.