Friday, December 19, 2014

Lois Lenski's Christmas Stories

When I think of Lois Lenski I automatically think of Strawberry Girl.  A book that at first was a book to be avoided by my boys, because there was 'girl' in the title, but ended up being a really fun read aloud.  I have to mention here that some of the dialects in the book can be a bit challenging.  But, overall really wonderful.

When I was browsing the Children's section at the library I came across this book of short stories and poems for Christmas.  One of the first things I do when I pick up a new book is look at the copyright date.  Quirky, I know. Some of the stories go back to 1939.  For some reason the older the book the more I am intrigued.  This was worthy of my time.  Here is one of the poems:

A Day For Gladness

Oh, not a day for toiling,
And not a day for work;
Unlike all other daytimes
When man must never shirk.

Oh, not a day for weaving
Or tending cooking pot;
This day, of all time's passing,
Such things must be forgot.

Oh, not a day for shadows,
For weeping and for grief;
And not a day for jailing
A scoundrel or a thief.

Oh, not a day for scolding
The child who breaks in song,
Who runs instead of walking,
Unconscious of a wrong.

Today a day for gladness,
For happiness and mirth;
A day made for rejoicing,
For 'tis the Christ child's birth.

What a sweet, wonderful poem.  It touches on the basics of our days, but then puts them in perspective.

The book is full of short stories that inspire and leave the reader with thoughts to ponder for the Season...and the whole year.  Titles like "How Christmas Came To Blueberry Corners," "The Christmas Fake," and "The Uninvited Guest" give just a snippet of the fun, intriguing stories in this book.

Along with the writing are Lois's simple, charming illustrations.

Add this to your Christmas reading list.  It is time well spent.  I will leave you with one more poem.

The Extra Plate

Set the table, Do not be late;
Be sure to put on an extra plate.
An extra plate for the stranger new,
The unknown guest passing through.

How little we have we do not care;
But that little is ours and we'll always share.
The unknown guest - who will it be?
Who will pass by - we must wait and see.

A sailor, a tramp? A thief or a cheat?
Yes, with us he may sit and eat.
A poor old woman, a rich young queen,
A ghost to scare - or a great big bear!

Yes, no matter who, no matter where;
Anyone is welcome whoever he be -
Our portion we share....  Thankfully.

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