A is for Abigail and Anna, Zebediah’s two sisters. He is making them an alphabet book.
From B, which stands for bandalore, a forerunner of the yoyo, H for the hornbook that taught children to spell, and on through the pigeons that blackened the sky, to the uniform that Papa wore when he defended the king, right through to X for the eXhaustion of parents who are homesteading. This lovely romp through the seasons on a pioneer farm is full of fascinating information.
Artist Mary Jane Gerber has placed numerous items in each of her paintings and detailed borders, and there is a useful list of them for readers to find. Author Mary Alice Downie has included detailed background notes, making this a sweet introduction to our history.
Mary Alice Downie was born in Illinois, but her Canadian parents returned home, and she grew up in Toronto. After graduating from university, she had the usual range of jobs for an English grad — steno pool at MacLean-Hunter, editorial assistant for a medical journal, publicity manager for the Canadian branch of Oxford University Press. After marriage to John Downie, she moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and wrote film, play, and book reviews. She and her family now live part of the year in a 125-year-old cottage near Kingston, Ontario.
Mary Jane Gerber is the illustrator of several books, including the bestselling Thanks for Thanksgiving. Born and raised in Mississauga, she went on to graduate from the Illustration program at Sheridan College. After working as a textbook designer she moved to Orangeville with her husband Ted. Since then they’ve been raising two children, a sheepdog, and various small rodents, while Mary Jane has continued to design, illustrate, paint, teach, and enjoy smalltown life.