Thursday, December 19, 2013

Loved to Pieces . . . with Peter H. Reynolds!

We are pleased to welcome Peter H. Reynolds, award-winning author-illustrator of The DotIsh, The North Star, and his latest picture book, The Smallest Gift of Christmas!

Peter's books delight and inspire readers of all ages -- so we were thrilled when he graciously agreed to share with us a couple of the books he loved to pieces as a child. 

"One of the picture books I remember most from when I was very young was Tall Book of Make Believe, illustrated by Garth Williams -- it was so unusual, from its  long narrow shape to the spooky, dreamy feeling I got from it. I must have reread it 500 times.  

From The Tall Book of Make-Believe, by Jane Werner and illustrated by Garth Williams

Later on, I loved all the works of Roald Dahl, especially Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  I think Roald Dahl was the first adult I encountered who seemed to still be a kid. Plus I loved that in the book, Willie Wonka was looking for a kid to carry on his mission of not only running a candy factory, but also carrying the torch of imagination and creativity!"

Don't miss Peter's latest picture book The Smallest Gift of Christmas! Spare, free-spirited illustrations and heartwarming text make this be-careful what-you-wish-for story the perfect holiday gift.

The Smallest Gift of Christmas
Candlewick Press, 2013
ISBN 978-0763661038

Roland can’t wait for Christmas Day, and when the morning finally arrives he races downstairs to see what is waiting for him. What he sees stops him in his tracks. Could that tiny present really be what he had waited all year for?

Roland wishes for something bigger . . . and BIGGER. But he’s still convinced there must be a bigger gift somewhere in the universe. Will he know it when he sees it?

From The Smallest Gift of Christmas. Illustration copyright 2013 by Peter H. Reynolds.

Illustration copyright 2013 by Peter H. Reynolds.
Praise for The Smallest Gift of Christmas: 

"Reynolds’ spare illustrations, which are by turns funny and heartwarming, make this small book an ideal big gift for the holidays!"  

Peter H. Reynolds was born in Canada with his twin brother, Paul, while their parents made a quick pit stop. That was only a temporary stop on this eccentric British family's world travels. Scotland, England, New Zealand, Argentina, Canada and finally the USA.

Peter and his twin grew up in a very British house in a New England town called Chelmsford. They were the only house in the neighborhood serving tea at 4. No basketball hoop in the driveway, instead a cricket bat and wicket. Dad Reynolds fixed the family car in suit and tie always puffing on his pipe. PBS kept them nourished on Monty Python and Masterpiece Theatre. All to say that Peter's early years were a bit odd, a tad quirky, a splosh wonderful, and were blessed with a good dollop of whimsy.

Illustration copyright 2003 by Peter H. Reynolds.
It makes sense then that Peter, pencil in six year old hand, began dashing out simple, whimsical, quirky art. He soon plied his art into newspaper he and his brother began in 2nd grade. Both he and Paul had an inexplicable desire to publish.

Peter's journey has been dedicated to helping kids, especially the "off the path" kids.  As Pete himself says, "I was one of them myself. Not every student is lucky enough to have a teacher, or adult, see his or her potential. When I visit students in schools they ask me what my hobbies are. I say thinking, dreaming. If my art and stories can help inspire others to do the same, I'll feel my life had meaning."

Today, Peter is the president and creative director of FableVision, an educational media development and publishing company, and co-founder of The Blue Bunny Books & Toys, in Dedham, MA, where he lives with his family. For more about Peter, visit his website at


  1. Thank you! I am honored by the spotlight on me and my work -and the books that inspired me (and still do!)

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