May 8, 2013

Spring Story

Hello friends! Feeling more springy now that we're in the month of May? I like May. So much more than April. I've already gone on record saying that I think springtime in April can be a vicious angry little shrew of a season. We often get better weather in March than we do in April! I spend a lot of time analyzing the weather, have you noticed? And I believe I've already stated that I tend to think of the film 'The Day After Tomorrow' as a DOCUMENTARY.

Moving on. To Brambly Hedge! Now, I'm pretty certain that I've mentioned the 'Brambly Hedge' books a couple of times on this blog already, but I don't think we've had a real, sit-down discussion. Let's have that discussion now, yes?

A few things:

My kiddo (age 7) is just now really appreciating these books. The stories look like they are fabulous for the littles, but they are actually too text-sophisticated for the preschool set, in my opinion. I tried a few of these books out on Julia when she was 5 and her eyes glazed over. Now she's into them!

Basically my thoughts on Brambly Hedge is that author/illustrator Jill Barklem had a psychic vision at one point. I think she had a dream in which she realized that someday there would be a person named Melissa who would be enchanted with all things darling and wee, who would love picnics and the idea of elderberry jellies and primrose tea cakes, and Jill thought to herself, "I WILL MAKE THESE BOOKS JUST FOR THIS PERSON" ~ that's how much these stories perfectly align themselves with my personal sensibilities.

(sadly, Jill Barklem prolly did not really write these books just for me, but i'm going to pretend that she did, to bolster up my self-esteem.)


There are many mouse families who live in the world of Brambly Hedge, and it's a real strain on the brain keeping up with which kids and mouse babies and grown up sons and daughters belong to which families, and who married which neighbor and then went to live in another tree stump. I need a map or something.

The stories are what you'd expect from art that looks like this. In 'Spring Story', a surprise birthday party is planned for a little mouse boy. In 'Poppy's Babies', the whole community gets together to create a new cottage for a mouse family that has mousie triplets. Winter balls. Trips downstream in a boat to collect supplies for the local store.

IT'S ALL SO ADORABLE AND I LOVE IT SO VERY MUCH.

The minutiae of the art....you could spend a long time and still not see every little tiny thing placed on a shelf or table. SO intricate, so perfectly planned and meticulously detailed! I want to LIVE in Brambly Hedge. And eat toast and jam and cakes forever. And wake to sun streaming in through my window and have someone bring me a cup of blackberry tea and a scone on a little tray, and then watch 19 hours of 'Pride & Prejudice' (the Colin Firth version, thanks).....and I'm so sorry, I have to tra-la-la-along now, I've become so lost in this vision of a dream that will forever exist only in my mind...

Oh, you have to see what some amazingly clever person made! Sometimes people are so incredible it makes me want to simultaneously kick them and hug them for being so awesome. You might also want to check out the Brambly Hedge website.

UPDATE: My wonderful bloggy friend Miss Cherie just reminded me that there are Brambly Hedge videos, and they are the cutest things ever! Here's the one for Spring Story on YouTube. (there are a lot of them on YouTube, but it appears that the DVD is only available in the U.K. and Australia.)


 (if you're visiting for the first time, Hello!! to keep up with more of Julia's Bookbag, feel free to follow along with our Facebook page and on Pinterest.)

31 comments:

  1. so lovely. Thanks! I think the weather in your part of the world is supposed to be Irishy? A bit rainy, thrilling when the sun shines? Cos we talk about the weather ALL the time too.

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    1. It is indeed always a thrill when the sun comes out, always and always. It's fun to discuss the weather! And COMPLAIN about the weather. That's the most fun of all ;)

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  2. These books look LOVELY - perfect for my little girls, I think.

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    1. They are the sweetest! If you are at all a fan of Beatrix Potter, you have to check these out :)

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  3. These do look darling. I've never read any of them. And the treehouse dollhouse is amazing!!!

    Maybe there will be pretty flowers to look at when all the rain from last night's thunderstorm finally ends... It was so dark this morning, we all had trouble getting out of bed. These pictures are a sweet wake-up, though.

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    1. Can you BELIEVE that dollhouse? Can you believe it? I almost fainted when I first saw it. I wish I could do something like that. I wonder if she ever sold it!

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  4. Thank you for this post! I have loved these books for years, and I was so happy to learn that I'm not the only adult who not only loves Brambly Hedge but wants to live there. :-)

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    1. My pleasure Jenny! Someone should make a retirement community called Brambly Hedge....I'd move right in :)

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  5. Oh! The illustrations!!! The details!!! The little mousies!!! The inside of the tree???!!! (and that someone made a replica!?!) Wow! I feel like I've spent time looking at one of these books once upon a time... but I can't put my finger on it. Though I do feel that they very much need to be in my life now.

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    1. You and your little miss will have a GREAT time with these! The pictures are just unbelievably cute. There's a book called 'Sea Story', your boys might like that one :)

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  6. So sweet! I think I have a Brambly Hedge book or two...somewhere, but not this one. That tree house is amazing! If you haven't already, you must check out The House That Mouse Built by Maggie Rudy.

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    1. Oooh Paula! Off to go search for that one.....if you like it, it must be fabulous :)

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  7. I want to move into that tree asap!
    I've secretly dreamed of living in a tree ever since the Bernstein Bears.
    I am SO adding this book to my wish list.

    Side note: My other dream house. The Weasley's from Harry Potter.

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    1. I love that Berenstein bear house ~ And YES. The Weasley's house! Totally want to live there too. xo

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  8. Super sweet books, thanks Melissa!

    And that tree house is insane!!!

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    1. RIGHT??????????? There are some talented people on this earth, I tell ya. :) If I had that tree house, I would play with it all the time and never get anything done again, ever.

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  9. Oh I absolutely adore Brambly Hedge! I actually didn't notice how much jam and cake they had in the stories until you mentioned it.

    I wished I could LIVE in that tiny little perfect world!

    My boy loves the books and the movies and his favorite is Poppy's Babies and Sea Story! We watched those so many times he knows the lines by heart!

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    1. MOVIES???????? Did you say MOVIES??????? Where? How? Where? Oh I must find these. AAGH! Did you mention this on your blog once? And then I promptly forgot? Ok, no forgetting this time. They're on YouTube right? I wonder if they are available as a DVD.

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    2. Yes the DVD are sold on Amazon.co.uk but make sure you have a DVD that can play that region! Otherwise you can view them on youtube :)

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Brambly-Hedge-Classic-Collection-DVD/dp/B0000X7SHK/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1368039554&sr=1-1&keywords=brambly+hedge

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  10. Oh my goodness! Love this! I can get lost in the tiny little details. This is DEFINITELY a book I would have been so into as a child. Cool! And can I just say ANGRY SHREW OF A SEASON--that's going to have smiling all day. Thank you!

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    1. Angry shrew of a season ~ that's my story and I'm sticking to it :)

      You will adore these Michaele!

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  11. It looks like such a sweet book! My daughter loves all the Beatrix Potter books and I bet she would love this one!!!

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    1. these will definitely be right up your alley Julia!!! :)

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  12. I keep meaning to check the brambly hedge books out from the library, but I forget! Let's see if I can get on it this week! :)

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    1. You are the one who first jogged my brain about these books, missy! You guys go get 'em and then we can all have a virtual tea party in our imaginations :)

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  13. oh those illustrations...we will have to find these!! Also, I'm always intrigued when books can make mice look so sweet and friendly and cute crawling all over kitchens and food in little pinafores...when in real life how freaked out would you be if you saw a mouse in a pinafore sweeping out one of the trees in your yard ;)

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    1. ha ha ha! I don't know, I think I could handle seeing a mouse in a pinafore, but if it was under my garbage can, I would be screaming and running away :)

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  14. I must find these books! And I want to live in that little house!!

    And the videos!!! Oh my goodness, they are just so adorable. I know we have a Brambly Hedge viewing party in our future. :)

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    1. We just watched 2 of the videos on Youtube, and they are SO ADORABLE. Oh they are precious! You will LOVE. xo

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  15. Colin Firth! I will watch the 2-hour version but for those really crummy days or really great days or any days, you really need all six hours! (See how I'm the only one with the P&P comment. Had to be at least one!)

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    1. Thank you Christina!!! So happy to have a P&P discussion of any kind, at any time. Now that I've reminded myself that it's been AGES since I've seen it...I think I know what I'm doing next Friday night! :)

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