If someone forced me to choose a favorite children's book, I would have to choose this one. (I can just see someone using force to get us to confess our favorite kids books...) At least right now. There are so many thousands of lovely kids books, but this one... I identify with it so much. The pictures are cute. Every time I read it, I enjoy it. It isn't too wordy, the kids love it, and the words are so evocative of my life, growing up in a small house with a big family.
I love this book.
Felicia Bond is a possibly familiar name to you, due to her success (along with Laura Numerof) with the Give a mouse a cookie and Give a pig a pancake and give a moose a muffin books. This book was from before her fame. But, oh! If it was up to me, this book would have made her famous.
The book starts with
"Poinsetta had six brothers and sisters, a mother and a father." They all live together in their fine old house.
One day, Poinsetta gets her favorite library book out of the library and heads home for the red leather window seat, her favorite spot for reading. She has a cherry tart in her pocket and eagerly anticipates precisely how buttery the sun will feel on her skin as she sits in the window seat reading her book and eating her tart.
(See!?!?! How could I not love this little pig already?)
But when she gets to the window seat, it is full of her brother napping. Her next two favorite spots are full of siblings too. After all that anticipating, she gets mad.
She is "sent to bed early that night for general misbehavior." See how mad she is in that picture of her sleeping? I can remember that feeling of "No one understands me or cares about me and I am mad and I am going to stay mad for a long time."
The next day, her father announces it is time to look for another house, since their fine old house is just too small. While they all go off to look for a house, Poinsettia hides in the pachysandra bush.
She has the house to herself all day, while her family is out looking. "I'm a pig in bliss," she gurgled.
Oh the peace and delight of having everything to yourself, with no one to quibble with you. Especially after sharing continually with eight other people.
But as the day stretches on, she gets lonely. When she finds a picture of her family, she bursts into tears--"This is all I have left of my family!" Despite all the fighting and arguing my siblings and I did, we did miss each other terribly every time we were apart. Weeping and wailing as every plane lifted off for Alaska. (Or car left for North Dakota or Wyoming.)
Then her family, that had been stuck in the snow, comes back for a joyous reunion.
But Poinsettia, like all great heroines, does not capitulate totally to being a perfect child. Her brother Julius tells her "I don't know why we didn't notice right away you were missing. The car was too peaceful." He gets a well deserved pinch.
And then, the family is as together as nine pigs can be...
In their fine old house.
Isn't that a lovely winter sunset? Sigh. I love this book.