CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 19. . . .January 21, 2011
Christmas with the Rural Mail.
Lance Woolaver. Illustrated by Maud Lewis.
Halifax, NS: Nimbus, 2010.
24 pp., board, $12.95.
Preschool / Ages 1-3.
Review by Linda Ludke.
In the mail a Box was sent,
Full of Toys, by sleight it went,
Through the country by the Bay,
For the Baby's Christmas Day.
Up the hillside sped the Mail,
Past the Bay and Fish for sale,
Ships ashore and boats turned over,
And bluebirds' houses all snowed under.
Lance Woolaver's poem "Christmas with the Rural Mail" was published in 1979 as a picture book and then reissued in 2005. It now appears for the first time in a board book edition. The rhyming verse was inspired by the images in Maud Lewis' artwork and follows the rural route of a Christmas package through Nova Scotia. The horse-drawn mail sleigh travels over covered bridges, meets up with Clydesdales pulling spruce logs and passes by children tobogganing on Ben's Hill. After reaching its "final stop," the pony heads "Home to the barn and summer hay."
Compared to the 2005 picture book edition, no changes to the text have been made. Changes do appear in the layout. Due to space limitations, two stanzas of the poem sometimes appear on one page. Fifteen of Maud Lewis' paintings were included in the picture book edition whereas 12 are in the board book version. The text in the picture book edition was printed over muted close-up images from the facing full page illustrations. In the board book, the text appears against primary coloured backgrounds. Maud Lewis' famous naive paintings such as "Two Oxen" and "Bear River" are included and are framed by complementary bright borders. I find the visual presentation much more striking in this board book edition and well suited to the younger audience.
This classic holiday offering will appeal to young children as well as their parents.
Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.
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