Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I trace my fascination with flowers and gardens and bugs and such back to this pretty little book -- a gift to my mother from her father in 1922 -- "Brought to Virginia by Daddy - from Washington, D.C. - July 8, 1922" it says on the title page. She was five.

The book stayed around and is part of my earliest memories. It tells the story of Jane Elizabeth and her summer in the country where she meets Prince Tiger Swallow Tail, the June Bug Twins, the Baby Froggies, Jack Hornet, the paper maker, Lady Luna Moth, Trap-Door Spider, Grasshopper Grey, Little Miss Hop-Toad, and quite a few others.

It was a wonderful introduction to nature and the miracle of metamorphosis- the caterpillar that become s a beautiful moth or butterfly, the jellied strings of eggs in the pond that turn first into tadpoles and then into frogs or toads.

The illustrations by Janet Laura Scott are marvelous. I'm sure the picture above of Humming-Bird Moth visiting the hollyhocks is why I prefer the old-fashioned single forms to the modern fat carnation-type hollyhocks.

And look at this evening scene with fire flies for illumination and and a buggy orchestra playing away while frogs dance with joy and moths and dragon flies swoop to and fro. How could I ever dislike these creatures?

Elizabeth Jane is such a pretty, prim little girl with her old-fashioned wardrobe. I can remember wishing I had a rain outfit like hers.

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Carol Murdock said...

The book is just delightful! Such beautiful pictures. I love the old fashioned Hollyhocks too because my Granny had beautiful ones. I have tried several times to grow them with no luck. I have no idea why I have such bad luck with them!

Yolanda V. Fundora said...

Hi Vicki, What a fascinating little book you have there. My fingers are itching to get a hold of it. Immediately sparked fabric ideas.
Thanks also for coming by the Urban Amish blog. Do you sew?
I'm a mystery book fan. Will be checking out your writing more closely. Y.

Tammy said...

What a beautiful old book! The illustrations are so lovely. Thank you for sharing the photos. I still buy children's books if they have exceptionally nice illustrations. My Dad had an oversized clothbound copy of "Black Beauty". It has two color illustrations and the rest pen and ink, but they are some of the nicestest I've seen. My Mom read to me out of that book nearly every night, and now I have it. It started me on collecting "Black Beauty" books. :-)

Unknown said...

Tasha Tudor's "Wings from the Wind" had the same effect on my childhood - "Under the spreading chestnut tree the village smithy stands..." and Longfellow's poem of the little girls The Children's Hour - "Grave Alice and laughing Allegra and Edith with golden hair". Amazing how much of an impression these small things from our childhood can have on us and how they stay with us. The copyright on "Wings from the Wind" is 1964 - when I was five years old..

Vicki Lane said...

Thanks, Carol and Tammy. I'll try to scan all the picture and make a web album of this book -- I had a time choosing which four to use but that's all Blogger will accept from me for some reason.

Hey, Yolanda! Marta McDowell sent me to your blog. I have the lovely book you two did -- A GARDEN ALPHABETIZED. And yes, I'm a quilter -- not that I have much time for it these days with the demands of writing. But I co-authored a couple of quilt books. COMMUNITY QUILTS (by Kavaya and Skemp -my married name) is out of print but still available on Amazon.

Thanks for stopping by! And I'm itching to try the urban Amish patterns!