Category Archives: Children’s picture books

The Fourth Little Pig

This week is National Childrens Book Week.  To celebrate I’ll be sharing one of my favorite childrens books each day.  I’ve already shared my #1 favorite from my own childhood here.  There are a lot of gems that I’ve discovered as a mother as well.  Today’s book is, unfortunately, out of print, but it’s so good that I have to share it anyway.   You can find copies if you’re willing to pay a bit more for it.  It was already out of print when I purchased my copy years ago and I haven’t regretted it.

The Fourth Little Pig is written by Teresa Celsi and illustrated by Doug Cushman.  The story begins with three little pigs in a brick house, hiding from the big bad wolf.  Only they’ve been there so long that there is no longer a wolf threat.  Their sister knocks on the door and is surprised by their fearful response to her knock.    She insists that there are other things they should be doing with their lives.

When the three brothers continue to cower in fear despite her assurance that there is no wolf, in exasperation SHE blows their brick house down and forces them to face the world.

At last the brothers look around and discover a world full of  opportunity, with no wolves in sight.

They dust themselves off and get busy experiencing life.  Their sister departs for a life of adventure.

This is a short, sweet book with very few words.   What I love about it is the message.  I love the reminder that we cannot hide behind our fears.  We’ve got to make life happen and not waste it worrying about all the things that might go wrong.  The lesson is taught in a light, fun tone.  My children always want it read again, and it’s a clever spin-off on the traditional story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf.  I’ve also found that it can be a fun book to share with teens, as it is a good take-off point for discussion.

I’m off to find a door to open!

Hopeful Homemaker

When Washington Crossed the Delaware

Of all the stories from the American Revolutionary War, the Battle of Trenton remains my favorite.  Something about it just gets me every time.  It seems to epitomize the stuff of which that generation was made.  Endurance and sacrifice are two attributes that immediately come to mind.  I never cease to marvel at how they crossed the Delaware River in the dead of winter, in the dead of night.  I love this little chapter in history so very much.

Imagine my delight when Lynne Cheney authored When Washington Crossed the Delaware.  Finally!  A picture book for children focused on such a special event in history.  It did not disappoint.  Yes, it is very broad and not particularly full of specific historical research, but it tells the story very well for its intended audience.  (It’s probably a good overview for many adults as well, especially if the Battle of Trenton doesn’t ring a bell for you.)

when Washington crossed the Delaware book

When I ordered the book, I was even more thrilled to discover this little quote as a preface, one I was not familiar with:

Lincoln quote on battle of Trenton

Sharing a favorite event in history is most definitely something I’m happy to have in common with Abraham Lincoln!

The book tells the story of how the Continental Army crossed the river and surprised the Germans in Trenton.  It also goes on to talk about their advance to Princeton.  What a wonderful little gem.  I also like how there is a historical quote on each two page spread.

The illustrations are wonderful and evocative.  It’s a book my children never tire of reading.  Can you guess what we’ll be reading tonight?

Illustrated Gettysburg Address

While this book wouldn’t likely be classified as children’s literature, it is today’s designated reading in our home.
For today is February 12th.  Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

And this book is hauntingly beautiful.  I cannot read it without feeling humbled, reverent, grateful.

The Illustrated Gettysburg Address

I saw this book for the first time during my senior year in college.  It was for sale at the university’s bookstore, and I loved it.  Whenever I had a minute, I’d go look at it.  We were newlyweds, and I was pregnant with our first baby, so purchases were a big deal.   As soon as I’d scraped together enough cash, I snagged this copy, and it’s been one of my most beloved books since.

This book is probably unlike any you’ve read before.
Sam Fink has brilliantly illustrated the text to Lincoln’s address given at Gettysburg, with a phrase or two on each page, used as part of the drawing.  Let me give you a peek inside.

The first page, with Fink’s declaration of his intent, and the entire text to the Gettysburg Address inscribed in the Liberty Bell.

Illustrated Gettysburg Address by Sam Fink

A couple of segments of the speech:

Sam Fink illustration

The tenderness of this page tugs at my heart.

Sam Fink illustration 2

For me, Sam Fink’s black and white illustrations are the perfect match for the message of Lincoln’s speech, and they also seem to reveal Lincoln’s heart.

Sam Fink illustration 3

Each of these drawings are on the right hand page only.  The left hand page is blank except for a small illustration and quote in the upper left hand corner of the page.  These quotes are either words spoken by Lincoln or words spoken OF Lincoln, many of them after his death.

A few that I love:

Lincoln's return gaze quote

Lincoln velvet and steel

The book ends with the quote:  “Now he belongs to the ages.”  I’ll let you read it to see the incredible illustration that accompanies it.

This book really is incredible.  Reading it this morning has set the most wonderful mood in my heart, one of respect and awe, and also gratitude and joy.  What a man!  What a time.  What a privilege simply to remember him.

If you’re interested in acquiring a copy for yourself, there are some available here.

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