{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} – Eloise Wilkin Edition


This post is a part of my “Board Book Beauty – Savoring the small as I read to my toddler” series. To see all of the posts in the series, go here.

I have many memories of opening a certain type of package when I was a child: for our birthdays, we’d get boxes from Aunt Jan with wrapped gifts bearing labels that said “Happy Birthday, Jennifer!” and “For Nicole on Jennifer’s birthday” and so on. We opened them with anticipation, knowing we had hours of enjoyment ahead of us. They were always books.

And so, when we received a package bearing her return address shortly after Abigail was born, I knew we were in for a treat. It contained a Little Golden Book Collection of Eloise Wilkin Stories.

Katie was thrilled to tear the pretty wrapping paper and find a book inside. Once it was open, it was imperative that we must read it immediately. She climbed up to sit next to me on the couch and we read the entire thing – all 209 pages – in one  sitting. We’ve read from it many times since, and if I try to put it away after only one story, she tells me, “No, Mama. More pages in that book.”

More pages, indeed. For your enjoyment, some of my favorites:


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Eloise Wilkin had a distinct style, a certain aesthetic that makes her work instantly identifiable. Her round-cheeked babies are sweetly pretty, but I especially enjoy the way she illustrated My Little Golden Book About God.



Katie is drawn to particular pages in several of her books. I can’t say whether it’s the wording or the illustrations that keep her returning to the same spots over and over again, but return she does. In this treasury, her favorite page is the one with the “jingle keys.” She requests it nearly every time she brings the collection to me and, as a result, we’ve read the book that is its home (Baby Listens) more times than I can count. We’re now to the point where Katie can practically read it on her own: I give her the first few words of each line and she finishes it. I love that she enjoys this story so much, and I love seeing the way her mind and her memory work.



I’ll admit to laughing (to myself, of course) at the work accomplished in We Help MommyAccording to Martha, the little girl narrating the story, she and her brother and her mother get dressed, make breakfast, make the bed, clean the house (mopping, dusting, vacuuming, sweeping), do the laundry, play with friends, do the grocery shopping and put the groceries away – all before lunch. I laugh to avoid crying; in our house, we’re doing well to accomplish half of that list in an entire day.


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I have a tendency to think things are as they’ve always been; this book shows me I’m wrong. It demonstrates a number of areas where our society has changed – both for better and for worse – in the last fifty years: the mothers always wear dresses and heels and stay home to care for children and the home; the fathers always go to work; main characters are all white; families have a mother and a father; babies are fed by bottle and are laid to sleep on their stomachs with blankets in the crib; milk is delivered in the morning by a milkman; a children’s book from a major publisher (not an imprint or dedicated “Christian” press) gives theological truths. Which makes me wonder: how will things change in the next fifty years? What will my grandchildren notice when they pick up books from today?

There you have it. {PHFR} Eloise Wilkin Edition. How about you? Read any pretty, happy, funny or real books lately?

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