When I was but a tiny lass (with a hey, ho, the wind and the rain) I loved the Brambly Hedge books. For some reason I remembered them today and decided that I must share them with as many people as might stumble across this because there must be people out there who have never heard of them and that is a tragedy.
There are a number of stories, all about a number of field mice who live in Brambly Hedge. The orginal four stories (Summer Story, Autumn Story, Winter Story, and Spring Story) were followed by a number of continuations.
The illustrations are half of why I love them. They are so delicate and so precise. Jill Barklem, the author and illustrator, shows every detail of the mice's homes.
I also loved all the different foods the mice make. They use all sorts of natural ingredients to make the most interesting sounding food imaginable. Elderflower wine, nettle soup, the list goes on and on.
My childhood was rife with wonderful books--Barbara Cooney, Robert McCloskey, Just Plain Noodles, Drummer Hoff, Little House, and many others. I loved all of them, but Jill Barklem's imagination is remarkable for making her world come so vividly to life.