I hope everyone had a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas, and that however you traditionally spend the day, you spent it well. In a consumer driven age, the emphasis has been on “winning” Christmas. how many presents did you get, how expensive were they?
None of my presents this year were of the ludicrously expensive, consumerism for the sake of it type (at least as far I know). But many of them have a connection to the literary, including the long sought after boxed DVD set of the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes TV series (in my opinion the best adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories) and a fun little bit of technology that might make writing on the move a little easier for me (and so I’ll leave you in suspense for a few weeks until I’ve tried it out…)
But there was one gift that meant a lot to me. A few weeks ago I wrote about the books that you remember from before you could read, and in passing mentioned a series of six fairy tales with shadow puppet style illustrations. Sadly, I could not remember who they were by.
My parents however could, as they still have them at home in Scotland – and after reading the article, my mum found them and was going to send them to me, but then thought again, in case they went missing in the mail (these books are, as I’ve since found out, over 30 years old…). So she and my dad looked online to see if they were available for sale. They aren’t, but a new edition of four of the fairy tales, in a large glossy hardback has come out.
The talented artist who made such an impression on me is Jan Pieńkowski, best known for his Haunted House pop-up book, and the Meg and Mog series of books. Of course, they didn’t tell me any of this, and so on Christmas morning I opened up a present and saw this:
I don’t think I’ve smiled quite so broadly in a long time! All the illustrations I remember from growing up were in my hands once again. Out of all the presents that morning, I think it is the one that meant the most, as it brought out the child in me once more.