At least half of my tbr pile is ex-library books I just had to read before saying a last, fond farewell. I read two of them last night and realized suddenly this morning....they were both Christmas books! Perfect. Here they are:
Daisy by Elizabeth Coatsworth, illustrated by Judith Gwyn Brown. Published in 1973, this little book is only 69 pages and full of Brown's evocative black and white sketches. But it's no beginning chapter book. The vocabulary and complex plot would be considered "too difficult" for today's beginning readers. If you, like me, are an Elizabeth Coatsworth fan and have read her fascinating and layered autobiography, Personal Geography, you'll recognize this as a story from her childhood. Daisy, the youngest of two sisters, is shy, awkward, and timid about trying new things. But when she slips out to hear a street singer and gets lost, she gains new confidence and feels that she has become a new person. Although this story takes place in Mexico right around Christmas, it's not really about Mexico or Christmas. It's about a young girl's experiences and how she begins to change as she grows up.
I saw three ships by Elizabeth Goudge, illustrated by Margot Tomes. This is a warm and cozy Christmas story. Little Polly, gone to live with her elderly aunts after her parents' death, is determined to honor Christmas custom and leave a door open for the three wise men. Her aunts are shocked and horrified at the idea of doing something so unladylike - and dangerous, for there is no MAN in the house, only THE HAT. But Polly, as always, gets her way and there are happy endings and delight for all as three ships come sailing in. This story is also fairly short in length and would make a nice read-aloud for several evenings before Christmas. It's sweetly old-fashioned and full of warm Christmas spirit.