Tall-tale Postcards: a Pictorial History, by Roger L. Welsch. A fascinating collection of faked, boastful postcards depicting giant produce and outsized critters of various rural communities. And I do mean giant—carrots are stacked on railway cars like timber and chickens are so big you can ride ‘em. My favorites are the giant squirrels (“I fought him hand to hand”) and the legendary pronged “warrior rabbit” of the west.
A Bushel of Merry thoughts. Told in pictures by Wilhelm Busch, and in verse by W. Harry Rogers. Anyone who thinks graphic novels are a modern invention needs to see this book. Originally published in 1868, this delightfully illustrated volume tells four cautionary tales with wit and clarity, from the woeful tale of Ice Peter, who made an unfortunate choice on his way to gather wood, to the Cat and Mouse tale that is set thus: a Mouse-hole, a Boot-hole, a Pump, a Clothes-prop supporting a Pair of Trousers, a Lantern and a Blacking-pot.
A Celebration of Gardens, by Roy Strong, decorated by Julia Trevelyan Oman. A perfect book to read on dark winter evenings when a gardener pines for out-of-doors growing things. Poetry, essays, and selected prose from famous and not-so-famous authors, loosely grouped into themes like Types of Gardens, Garden Work, Some Famous Gardeners, Events and Encounters. Illustrated throughout by Julia Oman’s delightful charcoal sketches. Warms a hibernating gardener’s chilled heart.