The Happy Owls, Celestino Piatti

Today's vintage children's book is The Happy Owls by Swiss Artist, Celestino Piatti. If I had to described Piatti's work I would have to use many terms like balanced compositions, great use of color, creative designs, good line work, appealing, etc., etc.,... just simply great illustrations. LOVE HIS WORK.

Piatti was a talented and prolific artist who wore many hats. Besides being a Graphic Artist, Illustrator, Painter, Book Designer and Poster Artist, he also did lithographs, etchings, woodcuts, linocuts, worked with ceramics and sculpted. 

Owls were used repeatedly in Piatti's work. Of the owl Piatti once said "I have never been able to get this creature out of my mind, especially it's eyes. Nearly every picture I draw has an eye somewhere." 

Piatti frequently used the four elements of water, earth, air and fire in his work. To represent these elements he used the fish, tiger, owl and sun. 

The Happy Owls is a simple story with a strong moral. It's about seeing beauty in the world around us and being thankful for what we have. Perhaps this book wasn't written for children only? 

Celestino Piatti lived from 1922-2007. In the 30 years that he worked for the DTV (Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag) in Munich, he designed almost all of their book covers, over 6300 designs in all! Of the 500 posters Piatti did, 30 won "Best Swiss Poster of the Year." A much smaller part of his work, Piatti did nine children's books.

I hope you enjoyed this post. I am taking a winter break and will be back on January 2nd. 



Twas The Night Before Christmas, Various Illustrators

Illustrator Leonard Weisgard, via Vintage Children's Books

Is there a more famous Christmas poem than Twas the Night Before Christmas? Not in my mind. Written by Clement C. Moore in 1823 , it has endured and become a beloved poem. Illustrated by countless artists since it was first penned, it would be difficult for me to choose a favorite, so I decided to do the poem in it's entirety with different illustrators.
I didn't realize when I started this how much time it would take. I'm looking at this as an ongoing project and hope to show it next year again, with improvements, modifications, etc. Here for your viewing pleasure is Twas the Night Before Christmas by different illustrators.

Illustrator: Joseph Giordano, 1957, via hunkamunka

Illustrator: Dorcas via Pennelainer

Illustrator: Douglas Gorsline via The Art of Children's Picture Books
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

Illustrator: W.W. Denslow via SantaClaus

And Mamma in her kerchief and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap.

(The site above has many antique Twas The Night Before Christmas books that you can view. I enjoyed view W.W. Denslow's version from 1902.)

1980 Hallmark Pop Up Book via mrvilhauer
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

Illustrator: Jessie Willcox Smith via Poets.net 

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow
Gave a luster of midday to objects below,

image via Jasper, Pickens County Georgia

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick;
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

Illustrator: Florence Sarah Winship via bewitchedmagic
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came.
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!
On Comet! On, Cupid! On Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall!
Now, dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As I drew in my head,
and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur,
from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished 
with ashes and soot.

A bundle of toys
he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler
just opening his pack.

Illustrator: Douglas Gorsline, 1975, via The Art of Children's Picture Books

Illustrator: Jessie Willcox Smith via NYPL Digital Gallery
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.

Vintage Little Golden Book via lottielulu
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

Antique Christmas Book via Jasper, Pickens County Georgia
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

1896 Illustration via SantaClaus

But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

Santa Portrait via Tales of Curiosity

This site has a reading of Twas The Night Before Christmas that you can listen to while viewing the images.


She Knows if You've Been Bad or Good...

I woke up this morning to find these lovely reindeer cookies my daughter made last night. She's home from college and got in the Christmas baking mode. (Yess!!) Knowing the people that live in this house, she left this note...

I think they are so cute. It's a peanut butter cookie shaped like a reindeer head.
Chocolate covered pretzels are the antlers with mini and regular size M&M's for eyes and nose. 

I've been seeing these reindeer beers all over the place. I'm using this idea for my three daughter's boyfriends this Christmas. 

Life in the So Called Space Age

I think this mid century Christmas card is just beautiful. Here are a bevy of them, my way of saying Merry Christmas to you. 


Eisenhower National Historic Site



Life in the So Called Space Age


Whatever you celebrate, wherever you are, Merry Christmas to you. I wish you joy, peace and good fortune.