Monday, December 22, 2008

The Christmas Bower

The Christmas Bower is a charming holiday book by Polly Redford which was published in 1967 by E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc. Edware Gorey provided a wrap around watercolor dust jacket design as well as chapter titles and numerous full and partial page illustrations.

According to the flap copy, "Edward Gorey and Polly Redford were high-school classmates and promised each other that some day they would do a book together".

This is a story about a "store family" who have lost the holiday spirit because of all the hustle and bustle of running a large department store for many years. Through a series of misadventures one holiday season at the store, family priorities are put right again.

The only real "Christmas" illustration is the cover painting which shows the elaborate store displays that are the cause of all the troubles. Some of the main characters throughout the book are exotic birds who run amok in the store and Mr. Gorey has provided many detailed illustrations of specific species of rare birds. Because he is concentrating on being ornithologically accurate in his depictions, the bird drawings tend to look a bit stiff.

This is a lovely holiday read, and reminds me of the John Bellairs stories in tone (but without the ghosts).

No comments: