Posted by: jeannineatkins | December 3, 2010

A Pocketful of Posies by Salley Mavor

Last night I was poring through Salley Mavor’s A Pocketful of Posies, which I’d picked up for a present. I’m sure my favorite one year old friend won’t mind me previewing. While the familiar verses rang in my head, I murmured, “This is so cute. Oh, this is so sweet. ” Admiring the stitches on a little lamb’s leg, the elegant embroidering on a tree’s branches, I couldn’t help saying, “Oh, my gosh.”

“Is that how you’re going to write a review?” my husband asked.

“Um, yes.”

Really, all I wanted to do was stare and delight at this large book, which gives you so much more detail than you can see here in a few pictures from Salley Mavor’s blog http://weefolk.wordpress.com/ which I urge you to visit to make your own contented murmurs and squeals. She collects things, cuts hand-dyed felt, does her own fastidious stitching before photographing the results that illustrate Mother Goose, about whom Muriel Rukeyser wrote: ”We come to language through her, and to mystery and laughter and action. To poetry.”

There are many wonderful nursery rhyme collections, but the whimsy and care makes this introduction special. And might encourage a child — or you — to pick up needle and thread and maybe one day appear on Project Runway. Or sew an acorn doll or apron. The care in every stitch is pure delight, and there are no shortcuts. The particular leaves and lambs on the end-papers were individually done, not photoshopped to repeat patterns. Look at this Little Boy Blue. And a sheep. We see lots of animals, often playfully roaming in circles: a design choice that echoes the ring-around-the-rosie theme of more than that rhyme. I like seeing houses stand on their sides or heads.

Here’s a picture from Salley Mavor’s show of original fabric relief illustrations in the children’s gallery at the Danforth Museum in Framingham, MA http://danforthmuseum.org/salley_mavor.html
which will be displayed until January 23rd, 2011.

For more Poetry Friday posts, please visit: http://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com/2010/12/poetry-friday-is-here.html

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Responses

  1. I love this book SO MUCH — I have it at the bookstore, and every time I work, I pick it up and look at it (I have a weakness for felted things!). I keep trying to figure out who to buy it for, and yes, if it hasn’t been bought by Christmas (it couldn’t look more like a perfect Christmas gift!) I’m pretty sure I’ll be buying it for myself.

  2. That sounds/looks beautiful.
    And will you be my first reviewer? I’d love an “Oh, my gosh.”

  3. I must find this book to see and hold for myself. How *beautiful*.

  4. Murmuring and squealing! OMG! Her work is exquisite and so charming. Thanks for featuring her poetry book. Me want.

  5. I am a big fan of all of Salley Mavor’s work, but this is sort of a magnum opus, with sometimes several rhymes on a page, and all those galumphing lambs and sweet dogs. You’re right: best Christmas gift. And you’re right: I’m not sure this gift will leave my house. I may have to get another.

  6. Much book love here.
    And I can’t wait to gush about your book!

  7. Jenny, this book is so much about holding. And peering. The felt creations bring out all my tactile yearnings.

  8. I can absolutely see this on your shelf. I don’t want to think about the long winters and other seasons Salley Mavor must have spent with her needle and wonderful eye. What a labor of love. I dare anyone not to squeal while holding this!

  9. Her work is beautiful!
    It is also giving me ideas for my bug books.

  10. Enchanting and beautiful! Both the book and review. Really. This is going to be my new baby gift book. (I hope she puts out a board book version too, for chewing.) I love your MR quote too. A.

  11. Yes, she is a wonder with thread and felt and found objects. Yay for new ideas!

  12. Thanks, Amy. I love All the World for a baby’s intro to poetry, too, but you sure can’t go wrong with this book.
    Last night I met someone who went to a baby shower where everyone was asked to bring a book instead of any other kind of gift. It sounded lovely, though the woman said she felt a bit of pressure: it’s always that “one” thing that makes us nervous. But cooing over books instead of tiny clothes, adorable as they are, sounds like fun!

  13. Ooooh, beautiful! I’ve taken her books out of the library just to look at the pictures more closely, but I think I better just buy this one! Thanks for the “oh my gosh” review. 🙂

  14. Oh, how lovely! I’d say “oh, my gosh” conveys it perfectly!

  15. from Laura @ AuthorAmok
    Oh my gosh, Jeannine. This looks gorgeous. I knit, but I don’t felt. The images from the book make me want to reach in and touch.

  16. ooh ooh ooh
    There are some works that just make you wanna drop what you’re doing and start a new project–this is doing that to me. Another favorite is a book I was just holding up for my class this week: Sing a Song of Mother Goose, illustrated by Barbara Reid using plasticene. Itchy hands!

  17. oops that was me
    Heidi Mordhorst

  18. oops that was me
    Heidi Mordhorst

  19. She went for broke here, Lorraine, and there’s so much to stare at ever more closely. I’m ever more convinced this book won’t leave the house. It brings up oh gosh feelings just thinking about it!

  20. What a beautiful book! How I would have adored it as a child (and as a teen, who sewed and embroidered).

  21. I expect your Sweetpea would find a treasure trove here.

  22. Re: from Laura @ AuthorAmok
    This book definitely brings out the touch-me, hold-me part of reading, along with the sing-with-me!

  23. Re: oops that was me
    I think the wee felt folk and animals would go beautifully with your gingerbread adventurers!

  24. It’s gorgeous, and I bet it inspires some to pick up a needle!

  25. I’ve been an admirer of Salley’s work for ages. She has a book on how to do the sort of art she does–I’ve looked at it longingly but know my skills fall short. Her work is incredible! Thanks for bringing this new book to my attention.

  26. We mustn’t let Mother Goose rhymes die. Sounds like this book is a great way to keep them alive!

  27. I missed the book signing yesterday at the Danforth (drat!) but must see Salley Mavor’s exhibit before it leaves!

  28. Wow, what gorgeous work. This book just went on my to-read list. Thanks, Jeannine!

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