Christina Katerina and The Box, Doris Burn

Today's vintage children's book, Christina Katerina and The Box, takes us back to the days of forts, clubhouses and special secret places. Christina finds different uses for the appliance box of a newly delivered refrigerator. Her creativity really comes into play when friend Fats damages it more than once.

"Christina Katerina liked things:
tin cups and old dresses,
worn-out ties and empty boxes.
Any of those things, but mostly boxes.
Hat boxes, 
bakery boxes with see-through lids,
shoe boxes."

I love the expressions on their faces! 

Doris "Doe"  Wernstedt Burn (April 1923 - March 2011), was a children's book author and illustrator. Wikipedia describes her work: "Her book illustrations, mostly done between 1965 and 1971, consist of absorbingly detailed line drawings, often of children matter-of-factly doing extraordinary things."

Born in Portland, Oregon, Doris spent most of her life on Waldron Island off the state of Washington.  She married Bob Burn after World War II and they had four children. All her children attended a one room schoolhouse on the island and Doris even taught there for a year. Doris and her husband separated, but remained friends and even neighbors.

Doris raised her children in a small cabin. Daytime chores involved chopping enough wood to keep the fire going and hauling water from the pump. Waldron Island did not have electricity, telephones, running water or stores. Goods and supplies that were needed were brought by the mail boat from the mainland. Doris worked by lantern light on her illustrations late into the evening. (When I first read about Burn, I couldn't help but note some similarities to Tasha Tudor.)

Christina Katerina and the Box
By Patricia Lee Gauch
Illustrated by Doris Burn
Weekly Reader Book Club Edition, 1971
Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, Inc.

Doris took a portfolio of illustrations to publishers in New York in 1956. They encouraged her to keep working. Her first book, Andrew Henry's Meadow, inspired by her oldest son, was published in 1965. It was reissued in 2005 as a 40th anniversary edition by San Juan Publishing. Incidentally, Zach Braff of Scrubs fame, was writing an adaptation of this book. Sounds like it's a work in progress, they have a producer but are looking for directors. I wonder if they will be true to the story?

To read more about Doris Burn and her other books, click on a link below.

FYI - I will not be back until next Tuesday with another posting. I'm taking some time off to deal with some matters that need my attention. Wish I could say I was going somewhere warm, but sadly that is not the case. Oh well - can't complain, we are having a more mild winter than usual.


  1. Fascinating bio. And we LOVED appliance boxes as kids!

  2. Doris Burn's "Summerfolk" started off my book blog. Her books are just what childhood should be about.

  3. This was my first book with Doris Burn, I enjoyed her art and reading about her life.

  4. We love Christina Katerina and the Box. My mother was a K/1 teacher and this book would vanish every few years going home with a child who adored it.

  5. I still have this book from when I was a child and absolutely loved it...still do!