Thursday, January 12, 2012

Juli Kangas

I'm a huge fan of illustrator Juli Kangas.  When I was in college, I bought the cutest greeting card at the local Hallmark store.  It was actually a fold-out map of a little town called Moustershire.  I'm sad to say I didn't notice the cute little collectable figurines that went along with the map.  I suppose being a broke college student I couldn't afford such indulgences, and suppose I didn't even look their way.  But I kept the card in a safe place and now have it framed in my "library" room.
Fast-forward 10 years when I first saw the book Photographer Mole by Dennis Haseley and illustrated by Juli Kangas.  I instantly fell in love with the illustrations of little stone houses, cobblestone streets and adorable creatures!  Just take a quick look.

Isn't this the cutest mole you've ever seen?  Love that he wears glasses because...well, moles can't see very well you know.

Here is a cute bunch of critters.  I just love the Badger's hat and sweater!
Placed throughout the book are the portraits that Photographer Mole has done through the years.  They are done in kind of black and white or sepia tone and look much like the antique family photos we see in antique stores.  Inside the books jacket cover It says that Kangas "used her love of antique photos and costumes in creating the illustrations for this, her fist hardcover picture book."  Well, she did a great job!  I especially love the last photographs in the book because they have a hand tinted look. (I won't show them here, you'll just have to check out the book. wink) 
I was excited to see her next book online and just had to have it, so my husband ordered The Surprise Visitor for me.  Again, the illustrations and story are so cute.

The Surprise Visitor is the first book Julie Kangas wrote and illustrated herself.

After pouring over the illustrations dozens of times I realized the little "map" card I'd bought at Hallmark all those years ago just HAD to be a Juli Kangas!  The cobblestone bridges, greenery and little critters had the same look to them!  Then I also found this card in my collection.
Now I'm not positive, but I think this is a Kangas card for Hallmark.  They look like her mice.  I keep this one safely tucked inside my The Surprise Visitor book!
I didn't photograph it as card, but here it is framed.  After some on-line digging I found out that Hallmark had a whole line of Moustershire items!
The Moustershire Creed:  "Come felines or famine, through all kinds of weather, we Moustershire Mouses witll squeak by together."  So cute! 

A close up of downtown Moustershire.
So I searched for Moustershire online and found that a person can get many of the Moustershire figurines that were once available at Hallmark, on Ebay!  There is a baker a seamstress etc.  But I haven't purchased any yet.  My goal for this year is to get the rest of her books!

Last year I stumbled across this little board book at a garage sale.

Isn't it precious?  It's called Fluffy Bunny's Friend and is part of a series called Furry Pals.   It was in the FREE box!!!!  Can you believe it?  I accidentaly let out a little scream when I saw it because I knew right away what it was lol.  I think the lady thought I was nuts.  I gave her a quarter for it, because I just couldn't take it for free.

 Isn't it cute!?  And there are 2 more like it listed on Amazon, even though they are out of print and VERY hard to find.  One is called Hello Honey Bear and the other is Ginger Kitten Surprise.  So my goal in the next year or two is to find these two books to add to my collection.
It's good to have goals.
Have a happy day!


  1. I just discovered Juli Kangas this week! I checked out 'The Surprise Visitor' from the library because it looked so cute, and I just read it last night. Juli is definitely a new favorite!!

    Love that you had to leave some sort of payment for the garage sale book. Greeting cards and picture books are often the focus of my treasure hunts as well! :)

    Keep up with those goals!

    Evans, GA

    1. Thank you for commenting, Ashley. I'm so glad to hear you found Juli Kangas at your library, and that she is a new favorite of yours!
      Have a great day!

  2. hi Jen,

    i received the cutest christmas card by juli so googled her and your blog post came right up. thanks so much for teaching me more about her - as a mouse fanatic i'm not sure how i missed out on her in the past, and i'm reserving her books from the library!

    i'm an author/illustrator of kids' books so perused your site and found - among many of my favorite vintage titles (the plant sitter; whose mouse are you?)- you also mention Our Library by Eve Bunting, which i illustrated. i'm glad you like my animals, because i certainly appreciate your taste in general!

    you might like my book Christmas With the Mousekins - i hope you'll check it out.

    best wishes for 2013 - i will definitely now be following your wonderful blog.

    maggie smith

    1. Hi Maggie,
      Thanks for reading my blog! Wow! My daughter and I love your books. My husband gave me Christmas With the Mousekins for Christmas 2010. It's such a cute story and I love the detailed illustrations and adorable little animals.
      Thanks for the lovely comment and have a wonderful 2013!
      Your fan,