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Katy England Katy England
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Christmas in Maine' - A treasure made new

December 15, 2015
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Just shy of 75 years ago, Robert P. Tristram Coffin published 'Christmas in Maine,' a rich and evocative tale of what celebrating Christmas was like growing up on a salt-water farm in Maine. Islandport Press has reprinted the book with illustrations by woodblock print artist Blue Butterfield to create an experience that is as richly illustrated as it is told.

Coffin's prose glitters on the page, evoking warm, colorful scenes, family members you feel that you know and food you can almost taste. The words wrap around you like a well-made blanket, and you can almost hear the snap of the fire and the crinkle of wrapping paper. These are simple times turned into a veritable treasure chest as he compares the sights and sounds of Maine to precious gems diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies. But it's the very simplicity that is the treasure.

Butterfield's woodblock illustrations are the perfect accompaniment, for they simultaneously give a sense of antiquity and the richness that is involved in each scene. They seem so simple, but are thick with details and minutiae that have been painstakingly captured on the page. It's like she slipped into Coffin's memories and found some of her own to place on the page perfect.

So much thought has been put into each scene, and they are rich with color, emblazoned between the thick black lines from the printing. The colors swim with Coffin's prose, and you can see that Butterfield immersed herself in each memory.

This is a wonderful book to share with your family this holiday season. And maybe some of these memories can become your own.

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