Oh, how I love the library! I love searching Polaris late at night, looking for old treasures buried at some branch or other. Today I have two adorable vintage Easter books, written by two wonderful authors, Tasha Tudor and Charlotte Zolotow.
|A Tale for Easter by Tasha Tudor. |
Henry Z. Walck, 1941.
(Re-issued by Simon & Schuster in multiple formats - see here.)
I always think of Tasha Tudor at Christmastime, or even in autumn. All those pictures of her in her handwoven and handknitted clothes, so cozy. But Tasha Tudor and Easter? Even more perfect. This sweet book begins, "You can never tell what might happen on Easter. You're not always sure when it is coming, even though you go to Sunday School." We turn the page to learn, "You can guess it is near when Mama makes you stand still while she fits a new dress on you." Sigh. How I regret that I never learned to sew properly! I want to live in a Tasha Tudor book. On the next page: "But it is only when Good Friday comes, and you have Hot Cross Buns for tea, that you know for certain Easter will be the day after tomorrow." Okay, we can do Hot Cross Buns. The girls are out of school for inservice this Good Friday...
The book then ventures into Dreamland. "If you have been very good the whole year through, the night before Easter you will dream the loveliest dreams."
And she isn't kidding. In her dreams, you ride on the back of a beautiful fawn, who shows you rabbits, sweet little mice, adorable lambs, and Easter ducklings. Then the fawn takes you flying, because this is the most beautiful Dreamland ever.
When we wake up, we may have left Dreamland, but we're still in the world of Tasha Tudor, where Easter morning brings colored eggs "in your shoes or in your best bonnet;" a basket of ducklings "beside your bowl of porridge;" or a bunny "in Grandma's rocking chair."
Sigh. I want to live in a Tasha Tudor book, if only for one day.
Our next book was written by author and editor extraordinaire Charlotte Zolotow, who passed away late last year. The beautiful spring-hued illustrations are by Betty Peterson. I tried to find information about Betty Peterson, but this book seems to be the only one I could find. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has republished the book with all-new illustrations by Helen Craig, of Angelina Ballerina fame. I love Angelina, but I think I prefer the original Bunny Who Found Easter.
|The Bunny Who Found Easter by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Betty Peterson.|
Parnassus Press / Houghton Mifflin Company, 1959.
You can find used copies of this version at Amazon.
HMH Books has a current edition, with illustrations by Helen Craig - see here.
A little bunny wakes up from a long nap, and longs to play with other bunnies. He asks the owl in the elm tree where he might find some. The owl tells him, "Why there always rabbits at Easter." The bunny doesn't know what Easter is, and the owl falls asleep without telling him. The bunny thinks Easter must be a place, so he sets off - headed east - to find it. He finds a pool of trout and a field of daisies. He gets caught in a summer storm. He finds mountain laurel, wet from the rain. Nowhere does he find another rabbit, though. Sadly, he crunches an apple as the air starts to smell of autumn. One day, the snow begins to fall. He sees other animals preparing for winter, but still no rabbits. The lonely rabbit curls up inside a hollow tree to sleep.
When the bunny wakes up, spring has arrived! He begins hopping about, ready to resume his search for Easter. He comes across paw prints - familiar paw prints, much like his. He follows the paw prints until he finds another white bunny, bright-eyed and white, just like him. He forgets all about his search for Easter. All he wanted was another rabbit for company.
The two rabbits are very happy together, and as you see in the picture below, they start a whole family of rabbits. The old owl has the last word. "Aha! Didn't I tell you? At Eastertime there are always rabbits."
In the end, the book isn't so much about Easter, but about spring and the renewal of nature. The book ends with the following:
The bunny felt his little bunnies around him and the earth blooming beyond them, and all things growing. And he understood at last that Easter was not a place after all, but a time when everything lovely begins once again.
I will have more vintage Easter goodies to share tomorrow!