Boxes of Books from the Barn

The Illustrator's Notebook by Mohieddin Ellabbad

The Illustrator’s Notebook by Mohieddin Ellabbad

After the Big Steel Box was moved over, we were able to bring the last of the stuff from the neighbour’s barn where it has been patiently waiting to be retrieved. One of the items in the barn was a large counter with drawers and shelving (part of the kitchen in the old house) and this heavy item was destined for the front end of the shipping container where it will be used in the temporary workshop.

Imagine my surprise/horror/delight when I discovered more boxes of books hidden away behind the counter! I have been culling, culling, culling (I know that’s a ‘C’ word, but there is no ‘B’ equivalent) my library for nearly two years and still have not got to the end of what has been an absolute monster project.

Here are a few of the titles from the most recent boxes and why I’ll be keeping them…


The Illustrator’s Notebook by Mohieddin Ellabbad is on the keeper list because it provides a peek into another culture and another way of seeing the world. The author/illustrator is from Egypt and has won numerous prizes for his work. I love the integration of text and illustration, his gentle musings on the creative process, and the use of ephemera (as a collector of bits and pieces myself, I appreciate the way he honours the things we hang onto as a way of preserving our past…)

Bloody Moments: Highlights from the Astonishing History of Medicine by Gael Jennings with illustrations by Roland Harvey

Bloody Moments: Highlights from the Astonishing History of Medicine, by Gael Jennings with illustrations by Roland Harvey

This book is deliciously gross and quite informative. I sort of collect medical books, so this one sort of fits into that category… Mostly, though, I’m keeping it because it makes me smile every time I open it up. I particularly like the page describing the world’s sickest man, Thomas Smith (1352 A.D.).


A while back I read a farm memoir called Hit By a Farm, by Catherine Friend (also a keeper – it’s in my books-that-in-some-way-relate-to-farms collection). Turns out Ms Friend also writes books for children and since her book, The Perfect Nest is a picture book (I have quite a few of those), about farming (see previous sentence) AND features poultry, well, no brainer. That one has to stay, too. Bonus points: cute story, nice sense of humour. Humor (she’s American).

The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend with illustrations by John Manders

The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend with illustrations by John Manders

One of the larger sub-categories in my library is books about horses (including some 20 editions of Black Beauty, the first real book I ever read and which, I suppose, was responsible for all kinds of things…). No surprise, then, that this book had to stay:

IMG_9019[1] Right on the front cover it says it’s the BEST-EVER book about horses and, really, who wouldn’t want a horse book that includes a fantastic fold-out stable? Obviously, the most excellent cover suckered me in as this one has settled in nicely right between Wind Rider by Susan Williams and Cross-Country Masterclass with Leslie Law, by Debby Sly.

Curious about that fold-out stable? Here it is:






3 responses to “Boxes of Books from the Barn

  1. That is a wide range of interests! I have boxes and boxes of books out in my barn too – it’s a great place to sit and read when I should be doing something else! 🙂


  2. Your collection is as eclectic as I would expect it to be :). The sickest man from the 13th century is wearing Hawaiian trunks, gotta love that. Oh, and I love the fold out stable…it’s just the sort of thing I would pore over for hours when I was about 11. Chicken picture books – well,Catherine Friend’s Perfect Nest is an excellent book, but you really must lay your mitts on Graham Oakley’s Hetty and Harriet (this is the guy who did the Church Mice series) – it’s very ’70s, BUT he knows hens – perfectly. You don’t have to add to your collection – the library has 2 copies.


    • Oh I LOVE the Church Mice books!! But, have not seen Hetty and Harriet … Thanks for the hot tip, especially the library reminder – though, access to the library has yet to save me from myself!


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