10:30am-Reading of “Boxes for Katjie” for ages 8-12 and arts and craft activity for ages 2-7
11:00am-Reading of “Sarah and Simon and No Red Paint” for ages 2-7 and arts and crafts activity for ages 8-12
In May 1945, a Dutch girl named Katje is thrilled to receive a letter and a package of socks, soap, and chocolate from Rosie, a girl she doesn’t know who lives in Mayfield, Indiana. The kids start to exchange letters, and when Rosie’s family members learn of Holland’s severe post-war deprivations, they enlist Mayfield residents to send food and clothes to Katje, who generously shares the gifts with others in her community. The sense of suffering isn’t strong here, in part because the Dutch townspeople are almost always depicted as smiling about the packages. But the story is still moving, and Dressen-McQueen’s lively illustrations, in colored pencil, oil pastel, and acrylic, pack lots of color, pattern, and historical details onto every expansive page. Fleming based the book on her mother’s experience, which she describes in an author’s note; in the real-life story, however, adults, not children, orchestrated the events, a finding that may be a little disappointing to kids who took the book, with its specific dates, town names, and heroic, generous children, as straight fact.
From the distinguished author-illustrator of the maritime Tim series and winner of the Kate Greenaway medal comes this classic picture book that was recommended to our editor by a children’s bookseller in Princeton, NJ. Please find out if Sarah and Simon and No Red Paint is still in print, she implored, and if it is not, please do all you can to publish it. With some difficulty, we procured the book, which was indeed out of print, read it, and fell in love.
Here is the story of two children, Sarah and Simon, whose father is a painter, and who live with their parents and baby brother in a big room called a Studio. Their father is talented but unacknowledged, and so the family is poor, though very happy. When the story opens, the father is painting his masterpiece. Sarah and Simon are good little helpers and spend their time doing chores and visiting their favorite place in town: the old second-hand bookshop with its kind owner. Soon the masterpiece is almost finished, except for the bit of red paint needed to complete it, and even the dealer agrees to buy it if it were finished the next day. But there is no more red paint, and no more money left with which to buy it. So Sarah and Simon set out to help their father, and to their surprise, end up reconciling their family with an estranged uncle and restoring the family fortune as well all with the help and kind solicitation of the bookshop owner…
Godine is proud to bring this classic with its detailed line drawings and delicate watercolor illustrations back into print, and our thanks to the good bookshop buyer who came to the rescue of this wonderful book.
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