I grew up with “Sweet” paper Advent Calendars like this one
The numbered openings are scattered all over, and the pictures outside bore no relation to what was underneath the perforated squares.
You got a lot of glitter outside, and dopey illustrations of stars, bells and candles inside the windows.
This annoyed me as a child. I already craved storytelling and wanted the outside and the inside to add up to something greater.
Nowadays, cool DIY Advent Calendars are all the rage. Many have candy and/or REAL gifts in them.
But that is now. Back in 1986 I was thinking strictly 2-D, so I decided to make my own paper calendar. It was going to be fun to look at AND tell a story.
I grew up in a cozy neighborhood in town, in a modern-looking, chalet style house designed by my parents. But my child alter-ego lived in a pale yellow farm house somewhere out in the country.
I needed at least 24 windows and doors on my imaginary house and barn in order to create the world within the calendar.
I included characters from my three, published picture books:
Nutkin, the marmalade cat from Only The Cat Saw
Ellie, the little girl from A Year of Birds and A Year of Beasts, and her Border Collie Pumpkin
And later, I copied parts of my old calendar into books created far into the future like When Lucy Goes Out Walking!
I wanted the picture you saw when you opened the door or window to make sense and tell a little bit more about this home and family.
So when you open doors 1, 10 and 18, you see into the front hall, the kitchen and the back hall.
The only window that did not fall within a real opening is in the woodpile.
but when you open it, the scene inside is still real to the location, even if the mice are enormous next to the cat!
Though this calendar is out of print, I still have a stash and am selling them here.
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