Friday, December 12, 2008


This is a book that I'll be giving to someone for Christmas: The Box of Delights by John Masefield.
When I was about ten, I saw the BBC production of the book on PBS. It's not available on DVD or video in the States but you can watch it here on YouTube.

I was pleased to discover this 2007 edition published by the New York Review Children's Collection has a cover that was designed by the artist Nikki McClure.

The book was originally published in 1935. John Masefield (1878-1967) was an interesting figure. He was orphaned at an early age, and was sent aboard the school-ship HMS Conway to prepare him for a naval career. Things did not go well for him there, and he was classified as a "Distressed British Seaman." He was placed aboard another ship in NYC, which he promptly deserted vowing to "become a writer, come what might." He was basically a vagrant at 17 in NYC, found his way back to England by working menial jobs with the goal of becoming a journalist. He eventually published several books of poetry. During the war he served as an orderly at a hospital in France, and was also in charge of a motorboat ambulance service in Gallipoli. In 1930 he was appointed England's Poet Laureate.
In England, The Box of Delights is considered a cherished Christmas story.
The power of art:
from being orphaned and homeless to becoming England's Poet Laureate. Amazing.

Below: Holiday Cards by Natsumi Nishizumi, still available in her shop.

Look at this: I love her attention to detail. So sweet.

Besides being beautifully designed, one of the things I like best about Natsumi's work is the fact that she donates a portion of the proceeds to various charities. 10% of the profits from these cards will go to UNICEF.


Ritva said...

i really admire natsumi, too :)

n a t s u m i said...

Hi Jennifer,
Thank you so much for the mention about my cards!!!

Have a wonderful weekend!