i spend a lot of time complaining about my job. i whine. i mutter. i grit my teeth and say mean things in my head. but one thing i get to do at my job that i really quite relish is read books. i canvass the internet for suggestions, compile reading lists in my excel spreadsheet, make morning trips to the library and check books out by the armload, and then stack the novels and picture books on my desk in the office.

and during those precious moments when i have the room to myself and there is but a slim chance that someone is going to pop in, i stop planning lessons and slide a story from the top of the stack and read – just for the pleasure of it.


over the weekend, i stopped over at a used book store in town and picked up an old copy of james and the giant peach, “$2.50” stamped in ink on the inside cover. i had never read the story as a kid, and i’ve now only read the first 24 pages, but i know already that this is one i’ll keep close to my heart.

the edition i found had black-and-white versions of these original illustrations done by nancy ekholm burkert for the book’s first printing in 1961. little james himself, unfortunately, gets a rather disturbing rendering (don’t look too long into his black-hole eyes) but the other scenes are utterly enchanting.



they are pen and ink drawings that have just the merest blush of color, but they are enough to bring my imagination to life – and likewise life to my imagination. what a bit of mercy on an otherwise mundane tuesday night.

{all images come from this lovely children’s illustration blog}

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