The Christmas season is usually rife with the frenzy of hurried trips to the store, frantic last-minute shopping, and the labor of traveling to a Christmas-tree lot to haggle over the price of evergreens. But for Bob Artley's family, celebrating Christmas on the family farm in the 1920s and 1930s provided time for the enjoyment of the company of family and friends.
Recounting every detail with loving appreciation and respect, Artley depicts an environment where the quiet of the late nights on the farm created a virtual "Silent Night" filled with the gentle, muted sounds of farm animals settling into a comfortable sleep. Artley takes joy in remembering the everyday activities that made farm life unique, especially during the Christmas season: the singing of Christmas carols while completing winter chores; the receipt of coveted mail-order catalogs to inspire Christmas wishes; the annual Christmas play in a lantern-lit schoolroom; the recitation of book passages on "popcorn evenings"; a personally selected tree adorned with homemade decorations; handwrought gifts and homemade meals; and the beauty of the stars and the northern lights in a cold winter sky.
Illustrated with water-color paintings and sketches, this retrospective look at his family's rural celebration of the holiday season conveys an appreciation for the simple joys of familial bonds over material happiness.
Bob Artley was born on his family's farm, established by his grandfather, in 1917. He began drawing as a boy, receiving extensive encouragement from the Des Moines Register and Tribune's great cartoonist Ding Darling. His career as an editorial cartoonist began at the Des Moines Register and continued at the Worthington (Minn.) Daily Globe, where he developed his syndicated cartoon series Memories of a Former Kid. He is the author of ten books, among them Living with Pigs and Once Upon a Farm, both published by Pelican.
Praise for Bob Artley's Once Upon a Farm:
"Artley's boyhood memories of farm life in Iowa are charmingly detailed in readable prose and fine watercolor paintings and sketches." --School Library Journal
I got this book to gift to loved ones who grew up on farms. They enjoyed it so much that they in turn bought more to gift to others. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Michelle Watkins
As someone who have great grandparents who lived on the farm, I have vague remembrances of their home around the holidays, but alas, I did not spend much time there. Read morePublished on June 28, 2012 by Dad of Divas