Wednesday, January 7, 2009
"Mother Makes Christmas"
One of the first artists to make an impression on me as a child was Lois Lenski, illustrator of more than 100 children's books. Lenski created the art for the Betsy Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace – up until Betsy became a teenager, when the style of illustration changed completely, throwing me for a loop as a young girl.
Lenksi also wrote children's books, including Houseboat Girl and others in what she called her regional series. She used a distinctive style of hand lettering to write the titles of her books, and now I am wishing that typemaster Mark Simonson would create a Lenski font. (What would be involved, I wonder?)
Once on our winter trip to Minnesota we stopped in Bloomington, Illinois, to eat at the Central Station Café, one of the few restaurants downtown. There is a fabulous used bookshop across the street, where I found a copy of Mother Makes Christmas by Cornelia Meigs, with Lenski illustrations.
I can just see my friend Deb now, rolling her eyes and saying in a knowing way: "Ah yes indeed, Mother DOES make Christmas!" To all of you mothers out there in the Christmas aftermath, including my own, thank you for your efforts this year. Here are the endpapers of Mother Makes Christmas: look at all the help she has in that bustling kitchen!