When magic happens, sometimes you have to keep it a secret, because no one will believe you if you told them. But sometimes when it happens, you have to tell everyone in order to share the magic and hope that it inspires more magic! Sunday night I was invited to the house of a children's librarian. It is no ordinary house. There are quotes from books on the windows, a Narnia train that travels from the kitchen to the living room bringing your beverages and if you are lucky, a letter in a miniature mailbag!
The people invited to this literary dinner party consisted of book writers and readers, painters and composers, wood artists, and philanthropists, who all had two things in common: we were all children once and we all loved to read, especially children's literature! As we toured the house, there were two bathrooms, one dedicated to Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, by Bernard Waber and the other to the Frog and Toad books, by Arnold Lobel. In the lower corner of the Frog and Toad bathroom is a small mailbox and if you are lucky, (and we were that night!), there might be a package for you inside!
The guest room in this house is where I want to come and stay awhile. It is painted purple and is dedicated to the book, Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson. The walls are painted with magnetic paint, so you can move pictures around and make your own decor for the night! Everywhere you look in this literary home are hundreds of references to children's picture books! Even the wall sockets are decorated with illustrations from picture books!
Because one of the guests was the wonderful author/illustrator David LaRochelle, who LOVES contests, there was a literary contest played before and after the meal. With pens and questions with fill-in-the-blanks, we combed the house, racking our brains to figure out who was in the picture over the stove and what book was it from? And what book was the quote on the studio window from? There were framed illustrations on the walls to identify, runes on chairs to translate, and pictures on a clock that referred to specific times in specific books. It was hard to stop for dinner! But stop we did and conversation flowed about books of course. Books we were reading and books read when we were little. Books we were writing and books we were illustrating. It was a magical night! And who won the contest? I did, with the help of my husband! Our prize was a miniature dollar bill with miniature coins, in a miniature green envelope from Frog and Toad!
I have not had so much fun at a party in a very long time. Truly a magical evening. I hope this post inspires you to have your own literary party and share the magic of bringing books to life!
Lauren's latest illustrated children's book is Yellow Time. An exuberant, joyful ode to that magical time when the leaves are changing color and the animals are preparing for winter.