|Betsi Mandrioli created ornaments drawn from “Through the Looking-Glass,’’ by Lewis Carroll. (CAROL HAINES)|
Concord Museum decks boughs with children’s stories
The return of the exhibition “Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature’’ at the Concord Museum marks the start of the holiday season just as surely as the lighting of the town tree in Monument Square.
Featuring decorations drawn from “Pippi Longstocking’’ to “Through the Looking-Glass,’’ and many books in between, the 16th annual holiday showcase has the museum decked out in seasonal colors and filled with warm sentiments. Individuals, families, and local organizations participate in the display by creating trees inspired by a children’s book.
The entrance lobby has a large tree set up by Barefoot Books, the event’s lead sponsor, and decorated after the “The Snow Queen’’ by Hans Christian Andersen. It is done by Miss Clara from France, the book’s illustrator, who has not been to the United States before. She and Dieter Krehbiel worked with delicate ornaments made by Miss Clara.
Down a winding hallway, Anita Hill and Patty Doherty from the Concord Carousel Preschool chose “The Three Little Kittens’’ for their book, and used pairs of mittens made by 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds in the program they oversee.
The museum’s public relations director, Carol Haines, said the show reflects the community.
“ ‘Family Trees’ incorporates much of what Concord is all about - history, tradition, literature, education, and family,’’ she said. “During ‘Family Trees’ we offer our visitors a chance to discover new children’s books as well as old favorites - stories that make us laugh, cry, and remember. We often hear of a childhood book that has featured prominently in a person’s life - inspiring and influencing many years after first being read.’’
Paul Burmeister and family chose “The Polar Express’’ by Chris Van Allsburg, and set up their tree in a room replicating Ralph Waldo Emerson’s study. Their tree is the only one with lights among the 36 set up throughout the museum.
Astrid Lindgren’s “Pippi Longstocking’’ is done by Linda O’Neil and Kerri Ann Casciotti. Mary Pope, Marilyn Anderson, Betsy Howerton, and Leslie Cheney from the Concord Garden Club chose “Willow and the Snow Day Dance’’ by Denise Brennan-Nelson.
Off the entrance lobby, Betsi Mandrioli set up her tree inspired by Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking-Glass,’’ and made many of the ornaments for the table-top display. She wrote a well-illustrated book about making ornaments. Mandrioli is a perennial favorite of the “Trees’’ exhibition, and visitors clustered around her tree.
The display, which opened Wednesday, will run until Jan. 1.
On Dec. 10, Santa Claus will make a special visit to the museum. And you will want to bring the children to the museum on Dec. 15 for an evening with local authors and illustrators. They will be signing books in Brooke Hall from 5 to 8 p.m.
The exhibition is a fund-raiser organized by the museum’s Guild of Volunteers, which uses the proceeds to support education programs.
“It is always rewarding to see a family nestled in a corner of the Concord Museum reading to each other and admiring the creative way that the story is expressed through the decorations on the tree,’’ said Haines, who decorated three small window-sill trees herself. “We hope that our visitors - who come from all over New England for this annual event - will share some of this year’s delightful books with family and friends of all generations.’’
Noted author Tomie dePaola, the display’s honorary chairman this year, “What a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays.
“These trees will delight both young and old, and everyone in between, with the joyful memories from favorite books.’’