Bonfire Night

I like a bonfire!  Sadly, the American fall holiday is Halloween, which does not entail bonfires.  Candy, yes.  Slutty costume versions of really strange things like bumblebees, yes.  But no sparklers, very few sausages, and rarely fireworks or bonfires.  And no burning effigies at all, unless Bonfire Night happens to coincide with the Bama game.

Whenever Bonfire Night rolls around, I get nostalgic for the Little Grey Rabbit books.  Did anyone else read these?  They are charming – all about a rabbit and a hare and a squirrel that live together and have little adventures.  In one book they go to the ocean; in one there is a young fairy that gives Grey Rabbit an egg; in one they have a birthday party for Grey Rabbit, and Wise Owl swallows her thimble.  In one book, Hedgehog says that his little son, Fuzzypeg, is very smart.  Hedgehog says, “He told me once I was a quadruped, and I said No!  I’m a plain hedgehog.  Plain I am and plain I’ll be, but my Fuzzypeg, he’s a scholard.”

One of the Grey Rabbit books is about Guy Fawkes Day.  Hare sneaks into town and gets the cat in a village shop to give him fireworks, which is exactly the kind of thing Hare would do.  Wise Owl sings a song about gunpowder treason, and they light Catherine wheels.  The wicked Fox, who at one point tried to eat Speckledy Hen all up, creeps away because he is Guy Fox and doesn’t want to get burned all up on top of the bonfire.

At Easter I always want to read this one picture book, The Easter Bunny that Overslept; at Christmas it’s The Story of Holly and Ivy.  We’re still a ways off from “the holiday season”, but I am curious now: what are some books you like to read at the holidays?

(You like how I am cunningly getting book recommendations from you?  Subtly varying my questions to elicit more and more suggestions for comfortable rereadable books?)


14 thoughts on “Bonfire Night

  1. holiday books always end up being comfort books for me. i always go to my favorite writers, reading new works if i can and re-reading old works. i always end up thinking about life and all of that other serious stuff during the holidays. must be all of that indoors time. (if you’re going for names, Huxley, Lawrence, Zadie Smith, Marquez, Ishiguro)

    and finally! someone who mentioned bonfire night on bonfire night! I thought i was the only one 😦

    • I love Bonfire Night! It’s all revenge-y on Guy Fawkes after four hundred years – loves it. Revenge gives you serotonin, you know. Mad serotonin going around on Bonfire Night.

  2. We are deep in bonfire night celebrations over here in England. The big firework display on Midsummer Common in Cambridge took place last night and our local village fireworks will be on Saturday. Our cats are having a VERY hard time, which is the only drawback. Personally I feel the whole shebang only exists so we can have sparklers, which are just fab.

    Oh I wish I had holiday books – the little grey rabbit rings a bell but I can’t quite recall him. When my son was little he was deeply into season-inappropriate literature and wanted the Christmas stories while we sweltered in the heat. Sounds like a lovely tradition to have.

    • I’m so envious – for some reason when I was over for a year, my flatmates didn’t do anything for Bonfire Night. Maybe they were busy with papers? I can’t remember. I love sparklers, I love fireworks, and I LOVE bonfires.

      I love seasonal books. When I was small, on the rare occasions that my father would let us light a fire in our fireplace during the holiday season, we would put out blankets and he would read us Rumer Godden’s The Story of Holly and Ivy. (I liked it especially because of the fire.)

  3. Of course there is only one holiday book that matters: The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, by Julie Lane. With woodcuts! Most visually appealing and touching book ever – I’ll look forward to your review!

    Oh, okay. The Christmas Carol too.

  4. Your envy of my slutty lobster costume is unbecoming!

    Hmm … During my birthday week, I read Witch Week. And then to gear up for Christmas, I must always read CHillers for Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street (the Tomie dePaola one), and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I also start reading more children’s lit for cozy holiday action (By the Shores of Silver lake, for example).

    I can’t think of any others offhand.

    • Hahahah, slutty lobster costume. If I wore it, it’d be a slutty crawfish. 😛

      I love the Best Christmas Pageant Ever! I have been thinking about that book so much lately; it’s been years since I read it, and I really liked all the questions the Herdmans asked about the Christmas story. Cause damn, a barn! That’s no fun for giving birth in!

  5. My uncle always reads the Christmas chapter of Little House on the Prairie out loud to his family – the one where the bridge is out and Pa can’t get to town so there’s going to be no Christmas, and then their friend Mr. Edwards shows up, having swum across the river in freaking December in order to bring the children their Christmas presents.

  6. Clever, clever Wicked Fox, pretending to be Guy Fox! I think I lol’d for that one! I’ve never heard of these books. I was a very big Beatrix Potter reader when I was younger. And The Baby Sitters Club, of course.

    • I liked Beatrix Potter (especially the Tale of Two Bad Mice), but Little Grey Rabbit was even better. One time Little Grey Rabbit gets kidnapped by evil weasels, and they force her to slave away for them until she gets rescued by Wise Owl. Very exciting stuff as you can imagine.

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