Sunday, December 07, 2008

Message of the Bells

I set this book aside last month in advance of the holiday season. As Christmas is "in the air" now, I thought I'd share it here. The Message of the Bells, or What Happened to us on Christmas Eve, was written and illustrated by Hendrick Willem Van Loon, with music by Grace Castagnetta, in 1942. As it's a small, 16-page book, I thought I'd put the whole thing here for anyone to enjoy. An inscription indicates the book was a Christmas gift. The giver may have had the book's subtitle in mind with instructions to read the book on Christmas Eve, 1942. The story and the publication date occurred during World War II. One wonders what special significance Van Loon's tale had for the original owners of this book during a war-time Christmas celebration... or might have for present-day readers with family members fighting in a war overseas?

Click on the images for an enlarged view in a new window.


  1. Thanks for this magnificent pages of this small book about Christmas. I am a collector of Christmas books and music. I have acquire this beautiful piece these days and I was happy to see your nice page on the Web.
    Réjean Olivier (Joliette, Qué.-Canada)

    1. Thank you for the comment! I have written on this blog about a few other books related to Christmas, which you may find interesting, particularly the first one below about A French Christmas custom:

      Joyeaux Noel en Provence

      Santa Claus in America

      And this one has only a poem related to Christmas, but it has an interesting story connected to it.
      The Cowboy Christmas Ball


  2. Thanks for this information.
    Here is an article about my book "Le Temps des Fêtes dans Lanaudière" :,-une-reference/1

    You have a beautiful blog.

    Réjean Olivier

  3. Dear Chuck,
    I can't see the page for Joyeux Noël en Provence but can se the other books. Thanks.
    Réjean Olivier

  4. Hi Réjean,

    Try this for Joyeux Noel en Provence:

    Thank you for your kind comments. I haven't done anything with this blog for more than a year, but if you have any interest in book-related ephemera, I am still writing for this blog:

    Thank you for the articles you sent. I'm in Texas, where I've learned a little Spanish, but no French unfortunately. I'll run your articles through a translator and see if I can get a good reading.

    All best,