Saturday, December 24, 2011

Petunia's Christmas

It's Christmas Eve day! Happy almost Christmas, everyone :)

I had great plans to post a bunch of last-minute, end of year reviews, but somehow the time is just flying by and I am just not going to get to any of them. Besides, I've hardly been reading over the past week or two...so much going on...wonderful, seasonal fun, but it does cut into the reading!

In any case, I'm going to simply share one of my favourite Christmas picture books with you to celebrate Christmas Eve -- a vintage piece (out of print) that I was lucky to find in hardcover recently! Upon rereading I see that it really is vintage in its style and illustration. So here is:

Petunia's Christmas / Roger Duvoisin
New York: Knopf, 2004, c1952.

I love this tale: Petunia the goose goes out for a walk on a snowy winter's day and discovers Charles, a handsome gander, at a neighbouring farm. They fall in love but --alas -- Charles is being fattened for Christmas!

Petunia decides to rescue him and tries a few techniques, which don't work, then decides she will earn the money to buy him from the farmer. She makes wreaths, paper angels, stars, paper Christmas trees "and other Christmas things" and finally gathers enough coin to buy Charles.

She and Charles are married on Christmas Day, to great revelry with their own farmer and farmer's wife joining in. This was always one of my favourite images in the book -- a double page spread that I loved to look at. Here is one side of the illustration (what you can't see is right at the bottom of this page there's a tiny cat playing dominoes with a mouse - loved these details)


I think this book was the beginning of my journey toward vegetarianism -- couldn't stand the thought of anyone eating Charles! :) It's also a great book for young entrepreneurs; Petunia's creative initiative saves the day, and it is only through her hard work that the story ends happily. But aside from all the themes that appear to my adult eye, this book is simply entertaining and I loved it as a child. So happy I have a copy this year!

Try your local library or second-hand book dealer to get your hands on a copy. Until then, I thought I'd share, for your general amusement, a youtube clip I just discovered. It's a vintage television program which shared stories and in this episode, "Marian the Librarian" is reading the original version of Petunia's Christmas. It's all in black and white though, so do try to find the real book for its great colour images. A note about this video: be prepared to laugh at the opening sequence in which a witch captures Marian and locks her up in a tower to feed her story addiction....quite hilarious!

6 comments:

  1. This book looks awfully cute (I'm not familiar with it).

    Happy Holidays to you and Yours.

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  2. I love it! Sounds like a great seasonal book, and I will keep an eye out for it. I'll have to check and see if my library has it.

    Have a great holiday season!

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  3. Oh my goodness! I don't think I ever read that particular book, but when I saw that cover, I knew I'd seen that goose before, and it turns out there are other books about her. What fun to remember those childhood favorites!

    Hope you're having a great holiday!

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  4. Petunia! I know I've read a book or two with her, when I was a kid. I can't remember what they were about now, but I know it was her. And I know I never saw the Christmas book before. It looks darling.

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  5. Glad to hear that others have fond memories of Petunia as well! Happy Holidays to all of you :)

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