Here’s an idea: There are some holiday picture books I’d like to share here at 7-Imp—I like doing that this time of year—but if did a typical post about each one … well, I just wouldn’t have time for that, unless I, say, neglected my children and work-that-pays altogether (not to mention—this just in at the 7-Imp news desk—the edits I now have to do on this work-in-progress).
Anyone can throw images up at a blog and walk away, which is why I always like to provide commentary of some sort or another about the images and the book in which they reside. Or invite creators over and have breakfast chats, etc. etc. and all that.
But, THAT SAID, in the interest of time, these holiday images will be just one (sometimes more than one) image from the book, a brief summary of the book, and the cover. Just a zippy-quick little series of holiday illustrations, since I enjoy seeing what illustrators are doing in the way of festive picture books.
Entry #1, on this first day of December, comes from Brock Cole’s The Money We’ll Save (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, October 2011), probably my favorite holiday title of all and a great picture book no matter what month of the year it is. Dang, I could say a lot, because I adore this book and am generally an enthusiastic fan of his work, but I’m going to have to stick to my economy of words here. (Be strong, Jules.)
This is set in a 19th-century New York City tenement. One day, Pa brings home a turkey poult after Ma sends him to the market for merely two eggs and a half pound of flour. “Think of the money we’ll save!” he tells his four children and wife, the idea being that it’ll “fatten up into a fine bird, and we can have it for Christmas dinner.” The bird lives in a wooden box by the stove. He is named Alfred, and he causes lots of trouble. (Or: What they save in money, they gain in headaches from annoyed neighbors and a very crowded home.) But when it comes time to take the bird to the butcher, there’s some resistance, to say the least—”What? We can’t eat Alfred!”—but I won’t spoil the entire book for you.
Brock Cole, who must be over the age of 70 now, creates such specific, detailed worlds. I love his writing, and I have always loved his illustration style. His loose watercolors are infused with light and are remarkably expressive.
And I am really crazy about the illustration opening this post. Happy December. And happy holidays.
(P.S. I meant for that to be even shorter. Maybe next time…)
THE MONEY WE’LL SAVE. © 2011 by Brock Cole. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY. Illustration reproduced by permission of the publisher.