handmade with love in brooklyn 

Falling Asleep in Fern Hollow

Posted on May 05, 2014 by Liz Blake | 3 comments
“Fern Hollow is a wonderful place to live. Ask Professor Sigmund Swamp or old Brock Gruffy to tell you about their lovely little village, and they will talk all day and yet hardly have begun.
“They will tell you that Fern Hollow nestles at the foot of the trees of Windy Wood and that through the village runs the sparkling ribbon of the River Ferny.
“The animals of Fern Hollow are all good friends and neighbours and, if you are a stranger, they will make you feel at home in next to no time”
   I was reminded of one of my absolute favorite childhood books the last time I was home for a visit to my grandparents’ home in Massachusetts. While I was there, my grandmother surprised me by giving me their copy of The Unscary Scarecrow, which was my favorite book to read any time I stayed at their house as a kid. Every night before bed, we would begin our journey by studying the map on the inside of the covers of the book. This was my favorite. For some reason, I thought Fern Hollow was really West Brookfield, where my grand parents live, & that made these books even more exciting to me.
(as you can see, this book has really always belonged to me)
 Next, we would read about a farmer who struggled to keep crows away from his crops with a scarecrow who just wasn’t scary. The Unscary Scarecrow is one of sixteen books in the Fern Hollow series written & illustrated by English author John Patience. The series follows a village of animals through many different adventures and trials. The Unscary Scarecrow features Farmer Bramble on his quest to drive away some pesky crows. The scarecrow he builds just isn't scary enough, but he ultimately comes up with another solution. I don't know about you, but for some reason, a scarecrow who is not scary is really something I can appreciate. 
Looking back, what I remember most fondly about our bedtime ritual isn’t necessarily which book we were reading, but the time we spent together & the memories we share.  I urge you to go make a reading memory with your little one. 
(please, don't mind my hair)
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  • Pam Blake Courtney

    How wonderful it was to read your blog about the reading ritual we were all accustomed to in WB. I remember your grandfather reading to me in his many dialects and the places we would go. This all happened while your grandmother was cooking dinner or doing some other “motherly” chore…as it was back then.

  • G-Pa and G-Ma

    As we read your blog, we laughed, and even shed a tear or two remembering those visits to Fern Hollow. From Fern Hollow to
    Thailand—who would have guessed you would travel so far.

  • Crocodile, eh mate?

    It’s terrific to read your insights into reading and the importance for children, who, we trust, will grow up to be readers as well and pass on the magic of words and story and imagination to other children. It’s how the tribe stays vital and dreams with hope and promise that the world is a wonderful place in which to reside. Where we would be without the stories that shape who we become. Love.


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