Julie A. Swanson

Purer and Purer Streams…

Category: picture books

Cranberry Thanksgiving

In anticipation of a a great feast with friends and family in another week, I present a Thanksgiving story I loved as a kid (and my kids liked it, too), an oldie but a goodie, Cranberry Thanksgiving, by Wende and Harry Devlin. The illustrations make it. Who could forget Mr. Whiskers? Or they way the ‘sticky’ trees look, so much like Mr. Whisker’s beard? Or the rich detail showing the texture/weave of the adults’ clothing, all those little criss-crossy pen scratches?

The recipe at the end makes a very good cranberry bread as well. Check it out and enjoy!


Vampirina Ballerina

With Halloween coming up, I would like to recommend a¬†great new picture book (which has gotten quite a lot of buzz already) written by my friend and fellow writers group member, Anne Marie Pace–Vampirina Ballerina. It has something of a Halloween theme being that it’s about a little vampire girl and has all these wonderful spooky illustrations. As a former extreme tomboy who would’ve never shown herself in a leotard, I wouldn’t usually like a book about a ballerina, but this little vampire, even though she likes pink and tutus, she has tomboyish qualities about her.* The girl has spunk. She doesn’t quite belong but wants to do what she wants to do despite the odd looks she might get. She is brave. Even though she doesn’t quite fit in at first, she goes for it, and she has fun!

*(can you please help me think of a new word for tomboy, so that we don’t have to keep defining strong, independent-minded girls in terms of boys? I don’t hate the word because there’s a lot of nostalgia in it for me, but I do see what’s wrong with it…)