I’ve said dozens of times that asking a book lover to choose a favorite book is tantamount to asking a mother to choose a favorite child. There is however one particular author/illustrator of whom I am especially fond. If there was a forced admission of my Top Five children’s books of all times, two of her titles would be in that list. This is Doris Burn. She illustrated a book very dear to me (which incidentally was republished in 1999 with inferior artwork and a reduced family size) which sent me on a search for other Doris Burn titles (I am so excited that The Summerfolk will be showing up in the mail soon too!!!). She is most famous for Andrew Henry’s Meadow.
Until yesterday, that book was out of print, selling on the used market for $35 or more. But thank heavens publishers have some sense and aren’t committed to just churning out “newer, better” books all the time. Andrew Henry’s Meadow has delighted young and old alike for several generations. And now, you can purchase it for the bargain price of $11 at amazon. It’s worth every penny. Best of all, the publishers didn’t mess with the story at all. There are still five children in the family. The only discernible difference is the childish font they used for the front cover (I’m not a fan.) and the size of the book overall is slightly reformatted. While the story takes place in the springtime, it makes for fine summer reading as well. Now, there is a movie being made based on this book (I am both frightened and excited to see what Hollywood will do to this) and I’m sure that’s why it’s back in print, but we still can voice our appreciation in one major way: go purchase this book! Our dollars speak and publishers hear the almighty dollar. If we buy mediocre garbage, they’re happy to continue publishing it. If we buy excellent, innovative books, they’ll publish them. The book makes for excellent gift giving to any middle child you know, any creative child you know, any 7-12 year old boy you know, or any child at all really. It is a standout picture book. Thank you Philomel Books for reissuing one of the great titles in children’s literature… may there be many more to come!
Oooo, thanks for this. So what other Doris Burn would you recommend? Is the Summer one any good? I just love these illustrations. I visited a Trappist monastery bookshop yesterday. The priest picks out lovely children's books, but we disagreed when he said children need beautiful color illustrations. I said they need both, if the b&w are done well….as these are!
I recommend all Doris Burn books! I'll post some pictures soon of Summerfolk… it IS good.
The only other book she both wrote and illustrated is "The Tale of Lazy Lizard Canyon" which I've yet to see unfortunately.
She's illustrated my beloved "We Were Tired of Living in a House" (the older one) and
"Christina Katerina's Box"… and a small sprinkling of other out of print titles. Here is a good view of one such title: http://theartofchildrenspicturebooks.blogspot.com/2012/02/hudden-and-dudden-and-donald-oneary.html