Sunday, December 20, 2009

William and the Christmas Moon by Laura Robinson

The sweet folks at Sawbridge Studios sent me a copy of local writer/artist Laura Robinson's book William and the Christmas Moon: A Shadow-Casting Bedtime Story a few weeks ago. I've been meaning to tell you about it; it is so so beautiful - but the time has flown. Now you'll just have enough time to run out before Christmas Eve, because believe me, you'll really love starting a new holiday tradition, sharing this special book with your children.

Robinson's poem-story of William's magical night journey is accompanied by exquisite cut out illustrations designed to be lit on the wall by a cunning little flashlight that comes with each copy of the book. You'll need two AAA batteries. The attached flashlight, which ingeniously hooks to the book with velcro, is best for the images. Our old Maglight distorted the projected shadows.

My girls were squealing with delight at the pictures projected on the bedroom wall; I was entranced by the delicate beauty of the images. Two deer drink water by a moonlit lake. Pinprick stars twinkle over a snowy village. As I read on, my girls fell silent under the spell of the picture show in the darkness. The line, "Darkness frees our eyes/To see what daylight can disguise," made me think that this was a perfect story for the eve of the solstice. And made me think with new gratitude about the very darkness that we work so hard to banish this season.

Robinson has used this lovely shadow technique previously in her book William and the Magic Ring. I'm getting a copy to put under the tree for the girls.

William and the Christmas Moon by Laura Robinson. Sawbridge Studios, 153 West Ohio Street, Chicago and Green Bay Road at Tower Court, Winnetka.


Mia called from the other room to tell me how good her hot chocolate tasted. I could have been next to her enjoying some tea and her cute mustached face, but I was somewhere between Rushed and Frantic, compiling a year-end montage for the holiday card or tracking down gifts that can still be shipped by Christmas. (Goodbye, dreams of healthy and delicious Florida citrus baskets.)

So it wasn't until she was finished with her drink and moved on to play that I walked by and say the delicious dregs of her cup. Miss H., Mia's first grade teacher, had given the kids packets of "Snowman Soup" as a holiday gift on Friday: hot chocolate mix, a peppermint candy cane for stirring, Hershey's kisses and a cute poem about freezing weather and warming the spirit. Mia had dropped the kisses into the hot drink and now all that was left was some chocolate goo and a peppermint fragment. I grabbed Mia's straw and sucked up the rest, forgetting, perhaps deliberately, her coughs before breakfast this morning.

"I just ate your germs, Mia! But the Snowman Soup was so good!"

I went on like that, licking the straw for the last bits and alternating happy groans at the minty melty goodness with loud complaints that I could feel the congestion in my chest already. Remember when Redd Foxx on Sanford and Son would grab his chest and call out to his dead wife, "I'm coming, Elizabeth!" A hair less dramatic than that, but with added holiday cheer.

Oh, hi. Yeah, I'm back. Had to share that story with you, apropos of nothing but holiday fun and a general Fall Downiness. No promises for much more writing before the new year - it's that crazy time. But I do have a few more Copenhagen stories to share so stay tuned. Love ya lots! Enjoy your holidays. Be safe and happy and well.