Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Brave Janet Reachfar by Jane Duncan & Illustrated by Mairi Hedderwick

I love, love, love this book. Scotland, farm, sheep, loyal sheepdog, extended family, cranky grannies... Seriously, people! So lovely!

 Since it is about a late spring snowstorm, I wanted to post it on one of my Stella snowdays (not to brag, but I had two full snowdays and one half day. Mini-vacation in March! Whoop, whoop!), but blogger wouldn't cooperate with me. Boo! But I took that picture while it was still snowing on Wednesday. Our outside looked like that for a full 48 hours. Non-stop. I do enjoy a dramatic snow storm! As long as I am snug and cozy...

Mairi Hedderwick writes the Katie Morag books (which I have apparently never had on my blog. For shame!) and since I loved the Katie Morag books I had to find out if she wrote any more. And that is how I discovered that she illustrated the Janet Reachfar books. And then I liked the Janet Reachfar books so much, I had to investigate Jane Duncan, which is how I ended up winning an eBay lot of 14 Jane Duncan books for adults. (I haven't read them yet, but I have high hopes for them.) This is why I am tripping over stacks of books all the time. 

And I don't have enough bookcases...  (hint, hint, Justin!)

The pictures are part of the reason I love it so, but the story is just as charming. Janet lives on the Reachfar farm, so everyone calls her Janet Reachfar. 

Daffodils on the windowsill, in a blue bowl while the snow falls on a backdrop of mountains. 

You had me at daffodils on the windowsill in a blue bowl.

As soon as it starts snowy, Granny becomes "Herself" and starts telling everyone that she told them it was too early in the year to put the sheep in the far pasture.

"...but none of you ever listen to me. You know best all the time."

Janet thought that everybody at Reachfar was always listening to Herself all the time. 

"Herself" is what Tom and George the hired hands call Granny when she gets all high and mighty about something. 

I love Tom and George.

So Tom and George go to bring the sheep back. Janet and Fly, her dog go outside to see the snow.

And hang around the barn. 

Tom and George made up a little poem--Ahem

When Herself is on-about
The Three of us are better out.

My brother used to say "Time to go to the shop" (or barn) whenever one of us girls started "emoting" (as he called) it at anyone. 

Apparently this is a time honored tradition.

Aren't these pictures lovely? 

Yes they are.

Janet thinks of the poor sheep in the east pasture who will have to wait until Tom and George get back to be let into the home farm. The east pasture is forbidden, but Janet decides she won't actually be going into the east pasture, she will just be opening the gate. So she opens the gate and sends Fly out to bring the sheep in. 

But there is one fewer sheep than there should be. How awesome is that?! I LOVE that this little girl knows how many sheep should be in the east pasture. Involvement and connection to the world around her. 

Anyway, there is one fewer sheep. So Fly leads her to the sheep left behind. Janet discovers the very first lamb of the season and barbed wire wrapped around the sheep's hoof. 

Janet sends Fly to fetch Tom and George while she huddles up next to the sheep with the lamb tucked in her coat.

I want a Fly.

Tom and George to the rescue!

Janet asks them to not tell Granny she was in the East Pasture. 

What East Pasture? Did you see an East pasture, Tom?

I love Tom and George.

Oh, Scotland's skies!

Confronting Herself.

But Herself quickly turns back into Granny. 

A granny who 

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