Tag Archives: Rhoda Levine

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How large is your stocking? I don’t want to get too personal, but isn’t this stocking business getting out of hand? Out of foot?

Having not grown up with this quaint custom, I am adapting as well as I can. I put the odd clementine in while Offspring were small. Then I took it off their piles of junk before it developed mould. But it’s the principle. I admit to putting some things into stockings that were more expensive than a clementine, or a small packet of raisins. But what went into the stockings was always small. Something suited to stockings.

I have in my inbox two emails offering me wonderful stocking fillers. Never mind that they are pricey, but I’d have thought the woollen jumper too big to go in. (They could have offered woollen stockings?) And as for the fantastic shoe shop we actually have in town, it’d feel wrong to put shoes or boots in a stocking, even if size was not an issue. Stockings might go inside boots. Not the other way round.

iPods would make expensive, but nicely small, stocking fillers. But I hope we’ll never be quite that crazy at Bookwitch Towers.

Saturday’s Guardian Review suggested Christmas gift books. Not for stockings, I think. Just for under the tree in general. The children’s section was suitably small, the way you expect. And I feel that however lovely a 30-year-old BFG is, or how classic and sweet is Peter Rabbit, that they could have come up with something more recent (helping living authors put presents under their own trees).

In fairness, Julia Eccleshare had half a page of suggesting picture books, which she did as well as she always does.

I will suggest two rather sweet and slightly different books. Both are reissued (40 or 50 years on) and I had heard of neither before. Palmer Brown’s Something For Christmas features a young mouse who wants to give something special to a special person in his life. And Rhoda Levine’s He Was There From The Day We Moved In, with illustrations by Edward Gorey, tells the story about the dog who needs something. But what?

Me, I don’t suggest books for Christmas. A book is for life, and all that. The books I have reviewed over the years will fit right in under any tree. (Not in the stocking.) Any time.

So get them for yourself, or get them for someone you don’t know. Nicola Morgan is yet again supporting Edinburgh Blackwell’s Christmas Book Tree. I can think of many favourite books that would be welcomed by any child.