Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hana in the Time of the Tulips

Sometimes I surprise myself. I was looking for something else when I found this past article in Faith and Family (now the magazine has been completely redone) online. You can find it in the archives

The article is base on the book Hana in the Time of the Tulips by Deborah Noyes, illus. by one of my favorite illustrators Bagram Ibatoulline. It is now out of print.

The Firefly Cure

Rembrandt Helps Win a Father's Heart
My children and I devour picture books. On rare occasions, we find a book that magically transports us into another world. Its breathtaking illustrations and captivating story steal our hearts and minds. Hana in the Time of the Tulips is one such book.

Although it is a story about a young girl growing up in the Netherlands long ago, it is a book that transcends time, as well as the borders of any country. It is al­ so a tribute to the genius of Rem­ brandt, reflected in the gorgeous illustrations of Bagram Ibatoulline.

As my daughter Kateri said, “It is a story about Hana and her father.”

On the cover, a sweet little Dutch girl stands in the midst of a vast field of red and gold tulips. She smiles shyly as she holds a bouquet of brightly colored tulips. The subheading emblazoned across the cover could easily be “Little Girl Conquers the World Through Her Beloved Father’s Heart.”

The story opens in the evening with Hana and Papa playing a familiar, favorite game of doctor and patient in the garden. Papa, the patient, has “fainted” once again on the bench and Hana, the illustrious doctor, bending over Papa and listening “anxiously to his heart,” prescribes a cure. It could be “a kiss. Or a race to the woodpile. Or a noseful of roses.”

Our first impression is the joy the little girl has in spending time with her father.

They don’t do anything elaborate. They simply spend time together enjoying one another’s company in a simple game. We also see a rather ordinary man, a bit portly and not so young anymore, like many of the people Rembrandt painted. While he is not ugly, her Papa is certainly not Prince Charming.

He is also not a same-age playmate; he is her Papa, her hero.

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