1. "A little bed, a little chest, / A little chair, to muse and rest"

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    A recent episode of Slate’s Culture Gabfest paid homage to left-field songs and rhymes in children’s books, which got us thinking about Palmer Brown, who was a master of the art. Above is a tune Hickory sings to himself while setting up his new house (which he’s moved to all alone) in a meadow. And below a song from Brown’s Beyond the Pawpaw Trees, taken presumably from that book within a book, Songs from Nowhere.*

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    *The book Anna Lavinia liked the very best of all was Mrs. Tetterbrace’s Songs from Nowhere. Anna Lavinia could never be certain whether ‘Nowhere’ meant ‘No where’ or ‘Now here,’ but she learned all the songs by heart. It was a lucky thing that she learned them, because one day the book was missing, and ever afterwards she could not find it.”

  2. Early Praise for Hickory

    What is this story about?
    Carter: A mouse. Nothing really happens to the mouse.
    Holland: He gets his toes pinched by a booby trap for mice!

    What is your favorite thing about the book?
    Carter: The beginning where he goes outside.
    Holland: Hop. She’s a grasshopper.

    What will happen to Hop if the frost comes?
    Holland: She would get killed.
    Carter: She will die.

    So what did they do?
    Holland: Find a place to get warm.

    Where was that?
    Holland [with big eyes]: Nowhere.

    Should people read this book?
    Carter: Yes. It helped me feel good.
    Holland: Yes. Because it’s fun. Every part.

    The Kids of Mookse and the Gripes kids review our latest Palmer Brown book, Hickory, and it is adorable.

    And! Hickory is also on sale at the moment for just over $10.

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  3. Hickory and Hop

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    "The grasshopper’s name was Hope, so Hickory called her Hop for short. Together they went exploring, and they discovered the sweetness of blackberries and the sharpness of sassafras twigs. They learned useful things—that chicory is bitter, but sorrel only sour. And they learned useless things too—that the track of a snail is silver winding through the grass, but the light of a firefly is green gold melting in the air."

    We’ve just republished Palmer Brown’s beautiful story about friendship, time, and wildflowers, Hickory.

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  4. Happy Good Friday! And what better way to celebrate than with Cheerful and a sugar-spun egg. Just be careful you don’t get caught inside, you never know where the egg might take you.

    Happy Good Friday! And what better way to celebrate than with Cheerful and a sugar-spun egg. Just be careful you don’t get caught inside, you never know where the egg might take you.

  5. 
“Hope grew up and married a mouse who lived in a delicatessen…. She … grew fat on smoked sausages and pickled fish and a dozen sorts of cheeses and biscuits. Cheerful hardly knew her when he went to visit her and see her well-fed family.”

Decades before Facebook, Palmer Brown nailed that disorienting feeling you get from catching up with old friends whose lives have diverged from yours utterly.

    “Hope grew up and married a mouse who lived in a delicatessen…. She … grew fat on smoked sausages and pickled fish and a dozen sorts of cheeses and biscuits. Cheerful hardly knew her when he went to visit her and see her well-fed family.”

    Decades before Facebook, Palmer Brown nailed that disorienting feeling you get from catching up with old friends whose lives have diverged from yours utterly.

  6. New Books for Kids! New Sale on Kids’ Books!

    Hey, Waldo did you hear that we were offering a bunch of books in our kids’ series at a special discount?

    No, seriously, your fans can buy Wolf Story at 30% off the retail price. And by the way, Waldo, have you listened to your old friend Mike talk on NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered about how his father, William McCleery wrote Wolf Story for him all those years ago? Go on, it might cheer you up.

    Ogdon! You seem to know all about this sale already. Can we ask how you’re feeling about your book, written by Rhoda Levine and illustrated by Edward Gorey, being available again?

    Excellent. The only thing that better would be if that giant dog in your back yard gave up the secret of his name—but he’s not talking.

    So all that remains is for everyone to spread the word. Cheerful, it looks like you’ve already started talking to some real chatty types. Nice work!

    Now on sale at 30% off the retail price (but not on sale forever):

  7. Most of the time, then, Cheerful sat alone in his favorite green shadow, pretending that it was a green field, and wishing that it were.

    From Cheerful
    Story and pictures by Palmer Brown

  8. It’s been a sad beginning to Children’s Book Week with the death this morning of Maurice Sendak. And we also just learnt that Palmer Brown, whose children’s books we’ve been bringing back into print over the  past year and with more coming, died as well in late April. Despite the sad tidings we do still want to celebrate the wonderful children’s books being published now and in the past; and also share a bit of Brown’s work, the images above are from the upcoming Cheerful, and the excerpt below from the recently published The Silver Nutmeg, companion book to the popular Beyond the Pawpaw Trees.

         The unfinished break in the garden wall was part of her father’s new plan to broaden the horizon for her. ‘It’s shameful,’ he had said to her mother one day, ‘for Anna Lavinia to be cooped up. How can you expect the girl to grow up with a point of view, if she has none?’
         Anna Lavinia secretly felt that she had points of view on many things, but she had been thrilled with her father’s decision to help her find a new one. For a whole week she and her father had tramped around the outside of the rosy brick wall, figuring out just the right place to open it.

  9. We wanted to share some sample pages from Palmer Brown’s The Silver Nutmeg, the companion book to Beyond the Pawpaw Trees. So here they are! Anna Lavinia gets quite a surprise when the acorns she threw into Dew Pond are thrown back. But the other side of the Pond is the gravity-less home of Toby and his Aunt Cornelia, who entertain Anna on the ceiling and introduces her to her pet tortoise JC, for Jolly Codger, or Old Jungle Creeper, whichever you think suits him better.

  10. "If someone asks you if you like peppermints, for instance, you know what they taste like of course, and you take one. But if you have a peppermint in your mouth and try to think how it tastes, that is much harder. You can only say that it is sort of sweet and sort of sharp, with a striped taste."


(A selection from Beyond the Pawpaw Trees, by Palmer Brown)

    "If someone asks you if you like peppermints, for instance, you know what they taste like of course, and you take one. But if you have a peppermint in your mouth and try to think how it tastes, that is much harder. You can only say that it is sort of sweet and sort of sharp, with a striped taste."

    (A selection from Beyond the Pawpaw Trees, by Palmer Brown)

  11. Retro Christmas Gifts for Kids

    The New York Times published an article titled “Have Yourself a Retro Little Christmas" and recommended three reissued classic Children’s books, including Palmer Brown’s Something for Christmas. We agree with what they said, but couldn’t find the Captain Kangaroo clip; we’ll send a free book to anyone who does:

    With exquisitely adorable creatures fit to rival Peter Rabbit, the book provides a predictable answer [on what to give—someone—for Christmas] – love – that will make it no less enchanting to young children. Out of print for 45 years, the book was long a cherished favorite, memorably read aloud on television by Captain Kangaroo.

  12. Laura Bush Remembers Beyond the Pawpaw Trees

    USA Today ran an article this morning called 'A Christmas Book to Remember' where they asked famous writers to share the most memorable books they received as a Christmas gift. Laura Bush, who was a librarian for many years, recollects being given Palmer Brown’s Beyond the Pawpaw Trees:

    At our home in 1954 books were an extravagance. We borrowed books from the library. So it was special to get a well-reviewed book for Christmas. My mother gave it to me, and we read the story of Anna Lavinia together. I still have it.

  13. Read Aloud Dad Loves 'Beyond the Pawpaw Trees' →

    "Sometimes you just feel it.

    Boom, boom. 

    The heartbeat of a book. Unmistakable.

    But with other books there is no sound.

    They tiptoe silently, coming up right behind you, and then they seize your heart without you feeling it.

    It is strange how you can fall victim to a good book.

    Reading aloud calmly and then, all of a sudden, boom!

    You stare for a second, incredulous.

    You blink. You look again.

    You fell for it.

    Yes, it is you now in the book, on the speeding train in the imaginary land.”

  14. Beyond the Pawpaw Trees

    We have recently republished Palmer Brown’s Beyond the Pawpaw Trees. In it, Anna Lavinia, and her cat Strawbery, leave home for a trip to visit her Aunt Sophia Maria, the sister of her father who has been away for two years “chasing rainbows.” 

    To get there—see the map above—Anna takes the train to the end of the line, is the guest of a pasha, visits the island in the sky, and struggles between the two, distinct cardinal rules of her father and mother, respectively: “Believe only what you see” and “Never believe what you see.”

    I won’t give away the ending, but will leave you with two verses from Songs from Nowhere:

    When I was young and full of hope,
    I braided me a length of rope, 
    To about the bag of gold
    That I would have when I was old.

    Now, old and poor, I’ve lost my hope,
    But still I have that piece of rope,
    Which I will carry, though I’m told
    The rope’s no good without the gold.

  15. Something for Christmas

    We’re aware it’s way to early to start talking about Christmas books. But we just wanted to share our favorite (though every page is as cute as a button) spread from Palmer Brown’s Something for Christmas from our Children’s Collection. It’s about a little mouse how isn’t sure what to present to get for—“someone”—for Christmas. His mother is trying to help. Resist the cuteness if you can!