One wonderful day, an old peddler arrives in the small village in faraway Thailand where a little girl named Miss Moon lives. He brings a tree with him, fashioned of brightly colored paper flowers. How Miss Moon longs to have such a tree! When the old man gives her one of the flowers in parting, she plants its seed—a black bead—and tends it faithfully. Little black beads can't sprout and grow, of course, but Miss Moon's faith is rewarded all the same! Filled with the sights and sounds of Thailand, this touching tale is true to childhood the world over. In these pages, Ayer's bold color and expressive illustrations draw us into a world that feels both intriguingly foreign and wonderfully familiar. Jacqueline Ayer was a Jamaican-American, born in New York City in 1930. She began her education at the Art Students League in New York, proceeded by time spent at Syracuse University and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. Ayer was a head fashion designer in London for many years and created more than 10 children’s books, for which she was awarded a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators.
"...a warm and whimsically illustrated parable about the moral courage of withstanding cynicism and the generative power of the affectionate imagination." —Maria Popova, Brain Pickings
"The book captures, in a way that is completely devoid of any sentimentality, the persistent, stubborn hope of young children. ...Ayer brings Thailand to vivid life, and Enchanted Lion has put great care and consideration, as they always do, into the book’s reproduction. You’re going to want to hold a copy in hand to feel the cover and pages and take in Ayer’s artwork."—Julie Danielson, Kirkus Reviews
"Blocks of color, and fine lines alternating with crosshatching and patches of rough pencil, give a mystical feeling to this lovely tale from Southeast Asia."—Meghan Cox Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal
On Jacqueline Ayer:
"I regress with joy to the delicately drawn world of Jacqueline Ayer's Siam" —Sylvia Plath on A Wish for Little Sister, for The New Statesman (1961)
“Jackie grew up believing that she could accomplish anything. She was graceful, charming, smart, drew beautifully and had an innate sense of style and fashion. ... What is always difficult to understand is the degree to which she changed every culture she was embedded in, from editorial pages to clothing design to fabrics and children’s books. Her parents, the neighborhood, her schooling and the remarkable century we shared all contributed to her extraordinary life.” —Milton Glaser