Red Mittens Green Socks

Kathy Birt

Illustration Duncan Brooks

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Kathy Birt will launch her new Children’s Christmas Book Set, Red Mittens Green Socks, December 7 at 2 pm at the Confederation Centre Library, Charlottetown.

It was a trip down memory lane for Island author Kathy Birt when she listened to CBC Radio Maritime Noon in January of this year. Host for the day Carolyn Ray had as her guests the authors of Saltwater Mittens, a book about mittens originally knit for fishermen in Newfoundland. As the author listened, she had a sudden urge to write about the mittens and socks her Granny, Evelyn Marshall knit for her and her siblings back in the 1950s when growing up in Covehead Road. Birt immediately pulled pen and notebook from her purse and wrote several verses.

“I initially met with Duncan Brooks, the young illustrator of The Turnip Tune Up book, in May, and again in late summer to collaborate on the illustrations,” said Birt.

Birt noted that this book, Red Mittens Green Socks, was somewhat of a bigger challenge for Duncan, a student in Graphic Design at Holland College. “Getting the illustrations to look authentic (to the 50s era) meant some research on both our parts. After the meetings when the illustrations were coming together, we exchanged many emails to get the book ready for Kelly Grey, who has worked on the graphics of several of my books.”

“While I know that people buying the book may not have any idea what my home looked like back then, or the exact appearance of the mailman (my Uncle Seymour at the time) with his horse and sleigh, I wanted the illustrations to be reminiscent of that era.”

The author said her Granny, who lived in Stanhope, always sent the parcel early with the mailman, so they could be opened and the warm socks and mittens used right away. “It was the only gift we would see and open before Christmas morning. So, it was an exciting time for myself and my brothers and sisters. And, yes, we got excited about these red mittens and green socks or (green mittens and red socks) that Granny knit for us.”

The books will be available in local book stores and gift shops, as well as at the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market.

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