Sunday, 19 December 2010

Christmas Books

Ernest et Celestine ont Perdu Simeon
Another well beloved book from my childhood.  The thing I love most about the ernest and Celestine books is the way that gabrielle Vincent manages to get such life and feeling into her characters.  And the characters themselves are so appealing and drawn so beautifully that you really identify with them
The story is about a little mouse, Celestine, who has this stuffed toy bird called Simeon.  Celestine loves Simeon and takes him everywhere with her until one day she accidentally loses him in the snow whilst out on a walk with Ernest.
Celestine is devastated and she blames Ernest.  Kindly Ernest however promises to go out and look for Simeon.  So he takes his lantern out in the snow and searches until he finds the toy.  Sadly though, Simeon is ruined.
Ernest, not knowing what else to do, goes out and buys Celestine lots of new toys.  But there is not one quite like Simeon and Celestine is not cheered up.  

Ernest then has another idea.  He tells Celestine to draw lots of pictures of Simeon, and then whilst she isn't looking, he uses the pictures to sew a new Simeon exactly the same as the one before.
Look how happy Celestine is when she discovers the new Simeon hanging on the tree!  and all the new toys that Ernest bought do not go to waste.  They are put on the tree and all Celestines little mouse friends come over for a Christmas party and get to pick one.  

This really is such a sweet story, and about something that I'm sure most of us can relate to.  I remember the feeling of losing that favourite toy when I was little and it's nice to see that in Celestines case, there was a happy ending!

Father Christmas
Raymond Briggs is a genius!  I love all his books!  I think in fact he is one of my favourite favourite illustrators of all time.  Just look at the humour and attention detail in his pictures.  I could look at them for hours.  I also like the way that he works often in a comic strip kind of way.  So it is possible to really follow the characters through the story and see what they are doing every step of the way.  
I love grumpy old Father Christmas here, packing his sleigh away after a long night.  He's a comical but believable character who obviously appreciates the simple things in life.  I also love the soft way in which everything is drawn and coloured.  I think it gives a really nice effect.
In case you don't know, the story follows Father Christmas before, after and during his trip round the world delivering presents on Christmas Eve.  It's simple but wonderful.

1 comment:

Lou Murphy said...

Oh my God, I absolutely LOVED Ernest and Celestine books!! I've never met anyone else who remembers them! I've tried to buy some on Amazon (all our copies were from the library) but they're all out of print and have to be bought second hand. Thanks for this post, a little trip down memory lane! Thanks for your comment the other day too!x