Sunday, December 22, 2013

Week 51: I Saw a Ship A-Sailing

   Week 51 is the time of Christmas celebration all over the world. In our area, whether christian or not, one cannot ignore the rituals of the season....  the stories of the nativity.... and the celebration of giving. Though this week's book-of-the-week looks like a gaily wrapped holiday present, it is not based on religious text, but rather, the Mother Goose Rhyme, I Saw a Ship A-Sailing. The little poem goes like this...

Page 1,  a box side of letterpress printing on watercolored paper 
I saw a ship a-sailing,
A-sailing on the sea;
And oh! it was all laden
With pretty things for thee!

Page 2, inked line drawings add to the letterpress rhyme
There were comfits in the cabin,
And apples in the hold;
The sails were made of silk,
And the masts were made of gold.

Page 3: line drawings of little pirate mice with gold necklaces...
The four-and-twenty sailors 
That stood between the decks,
Were four-and-twenty white mice
With gold chains around their necks.

Page 4: a surprise ending to make you smile.

 The captain was a duck,
With a pack upon his back;
And when the ship began to move,
The captain said, “Quack! Quack!”

... then lift the lid, and see what's inside...
 The fun part about this book is the interactive etui box whose four drop-down walls constitute its four pages. When the lid is lifted, magnets hold the drop-down walls in place and the surprise stays safe inside. Where is it?

it might be filled with the imagination....
or it might be a mysterious creature with beady black eyes...
or a plush toy duckling...
Like the toy duckling baby's rattle inside I Saw a Ship A-Sailing, presents can be thoughtful, joyful, silly, precious, humble, useful, frivolous, rare, commonplace, and beautiful. And this week of the year presents can be found everywhere.... . 

a winter sunset in the neighborhood...