I am pleased to announce the arrival of my second children's book!
As the flowers bloom and blossoms open on the trees, so another children's book is born in my garden of stories. The Secrets of the Dandelions is a tale of wonder and discovery of the marvels
that live in this seemingly simple spring time flower. Take off your shoes and let the green grass tickle your toes as you go outside for a walk with Aurelia. See what is happening in her garden in spring. Share a cup of tea with a friend and put on a golden crown. Sit for a moment and watch the winged friends visit the dandelions. Most of all, look up to the sky and down to the earth and connect the mysteries that live in between.
Each illustration in this 32 page book is needle felted with natural wool fibers. The images are soft and simple...perfect for the young child to dream into. One mother told me that with my first book, her young son kept trying to stroke the pictures on the page, in an effort to feel the soft, woolly fibers. Others have shared how calming and soothing it is to dream into the softness of the illustrations.
This past weekend, I had the joy of sharing my new book at Dandelion Day in Carbondale, CO. At this festival, all parts of the dandelions (leaves, roots and blossoms) are celebrated for their nutritional and healing properties and as a food source for pollinators. In past years, folks have dressed up in colorful costumes and danced in a dandelion parade. The park in the center of town is a pesticide-free place where the green grass beholds a spectacle of yellow polka dots.
Thank you to those who helped bring this book to birth:
Russell, for your photographic genius, humor and laughter.
Ann, for your technical skills, patience and heart's love for children's stories.
Don, for your ongoing support as I dance this caravan of creativity.
Gunther, for your work in the world of bio-dynamic farming, gardening and bee keeping.
Nancy, for your keen and imaginative inner eye in merging the healing arts of story and nature.
Mindy, for creating a place where our every day Sky is more Blue and more Bright.
Elizabeth, for the wee ones you care for in the forests and gardens of Colorado.
And for all the readers of this story, who help celebrate the wondrous world of dandelions.
For those living outside of Colorado, please see the following pages for more info on purchasing my new book. For local friends in the Boulder area, stay tuned for further updates as I plan local pop-ups at my home and in neighborhood gardens, parks and schools.
Dandelion Book Hardcover and Dandelion Book Softcover.
Some see a weed...some see a wish.
with gratitude to the dandelions,
Molly Brett was a children's author and illustrator from Surrey, Great Britain and she lived from 1902-1990. She grew up in the English countryside and was surrounded by nature. She published over 60 books for children during her years as an artist. A contemporary of Margaret Tarrant and Beatrix Potter, she depicted enchanted nature scenes for children. She had a gift for making animals realistic and giving them human characteristics and activities.
Her book Robin Finds Christmas was published in 1961 and tells the story of a robin whose fir tree is stolen from the forest while he is away. The rabbit in the woods heard the people who took it said it was "for Christmas." The robin is determined to find out just who this "Christmas person"is.
On his journey, he meets helpers who try and point the way to Christmas. "Maybe it's in the chimney where Father Christmas goes every year" says the sparrow. "You should have looked in the shops" cooed Madam Pigeon. "Perhaps it is in the red post box" cries Jenny Wren, "where all of the Christmas letters go."
Finally, he meets tawny Owl who lives way up in the church tower. Owl points to the village below. "All the letters and the presents are aspects of Christmas" he says, "but you will find the true meaning in the old church below."
Robin makes friends with the resident church mouse, and sure enough, he shares with him the story of the babe in the manger. He leads him to the crèche, where the holy family and shepherds are gathered.
Robin is so taken with the babe that he sings to him.
Robin's fir tree is eventually planted in the church yard and Robin moves back into his beloved tree to stay. In the years to come, he tells the Christmas story to the other birds in the fir tree and together, they sing to the Christ child.
A simple yet meaningful story to read at this time of year, with one tiny bird's search for the meaning of Christmas.
Finding a Home on Christmas Night
Here is a beloved book in my collection of children's Christmas stories, called
The Christmas Cat. Published in 1976, it was written by Efner Tudor Homes and illustrated by her mother, Tasha Tudor. It is a story of a homeless cat wandering in the woods in the winter cold, looking for a place to live.
Discovered one night by a man feeding the wild animals in the woods, he discovers the cat and finds a home for him, declaring "you belong in a warm house with soft chairs to sleep on and a saucer of milk to drink".
Alas, he finds a cozy home for this lonely cat. When two brothers wake up on Christmas morning, they go their stockings by the fire and discover a gray cat curled up on a chair. "But Nate, where could he have come from?' cried Jason. "I'm not sure" said his brother, looking thoughtful. "But some unexpected-and wonderful- things can happen when it's Christmas."
A simple story like this can offer a sense of warmth, safety and protection to a young child, not only during the Christmas season, but all throughout the year.
A child is born, so full of love
Protected by an angel above
That child is born in my heart too
With stars of gold to shine anew.
©written by Christine Summerfield/December 25, 2020
Welcome to the Holy Days and Nights
As we enter the Christmas season, I am re discovering a joy in revisiting some of my favorite children's Christmas stories and illustrations. Many are classics and others are more contemporary. In the twelve holy days and nights to come, I offer you a little gem from an author or an illustrator that shares a message of love, peace, simplicity or protection.
Wishing you a blessed Christmas season from my home to yours.
On this Christmas evening night
A special candle I do light
For hope and kindness, love and care
For peace and goodness everywhere.
© written by Christine Summerfield/Dec 24, 2020
What do dandelions do
when they sleep at night?
When their leaves and petals curl
and fold up oh-so-tight?
In the morning they wake up
and open to the sun
But at night they go to sleep
when the day is done.
When I go to sleep at night
I dream of traveling far
Past the silver moon up high
To the twinkling stars.
Perhaps when dandelions sleep
They dream about the day
When they will open up and then
Their seeds will fly away.
How boys and girls will pick them, make a wish and blow
Setting free the little seeds to scatter to and fro.
Sailing high up to the sky on fluffy, silken wings
Back up to their starry home, where the angels sing.
I smile when I think about a secret we both keep
How dandelions and people too like to dream and sleep.
© written and illustrated by Christine Summerfield May 23/2020
Here is a one of my favorite children's poems written in 1889 by American writer and poet, Eugene Field. I used to sing this lullaby in the kindergarten while the children rested. May you find your own wooden shoe and go fishing at night among the stars. I'll see you there in my dreams...
WYNKEN, BLYNKEN, AND NOD
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe-
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going and what do you wish?"
The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!"
The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in the beautiful sea-
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish-
Never afeard are we";
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam-
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;
'Twas all so pretty a sail it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folks thought 't was a dream they'd dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea-
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head.
And the wooden shoe that siled the skies
Is a wee one's trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
Poem by Eugene Field, 1889
Needle Felted Illustrations by Christine Summerfield © May 16, 2020
Purple, blue and pinkle
Your petals five
Without a single wrinkle!
I really do thinkle
That you are
A shining star
How you love to twinkle!
© written by Christine Summerfield/May 13, 2020
A mama bird with wings of blue
And a golden heart with love so true
Made a cosy nest so warm
To keep her baby safe from harm
And then one day in early spring
She heard her baby sweetly sing!
Welcome dearest little one
From the stars and moon and sun
May you discover the wonder and awe
Of our beautiful world, little jackdaw.
© written and felted by Christine Summerfield/May 9, 2020
The Marry Month of May
It's the marry month of May when flowers are in bloom
A time for courtship and romance for every bride and groom.
Mister Swallow and his bride donned their very best
They married in a hawthorn tree and then they built their nest.
And then there were two pixies dear who lived in Yorkshire dell
The fairy folk who live there still have this tale to tell...
Mushroom Boy, a gentleman, he bowed on bended knee
Asking his beloved one, "will you marry me?"
"Oh yes!" she cried and clapped her hands, her cheeks a rosy hue
And with a sunny smile she said, "I will marry you!"
Another couple fell in love when they were young and free
Married in a chapel, filled with friends and family.
They are still together now, a faithful king and queen
Through all the seasons of their life, like a garden green.
Birds and faeries, people too can marry in the spring
Sharing love and happiness and even wedding rings.
© written and illustrated by Christine Summerfield / May 7, 2020