Nine Days to Christmas, A Story of Mexico, centers around five year old Ceci who is going to have her first posada. In Mexico, posadas are special Christmas parties held each night at a different house for the nine nights before Christmas. The story is about Ceci's anticipation and preparation for her party and the party itself. This would have been a nice mid century book for children to learn about Mexican Christmas customs and culture - it must have been fairly unique in its time. Marie Hall Ets did a lovely job illustrating this book, especially with her depictions of children and of course, Ceci. I like the punches of color added to the pencil illustrations, it adds warmth and charm to the illustrations. I also like the fact that the illustrations show a realistic urban Mexico.
Nine Days to Christmas, A Story of Mexico
By Marie Hall Ets and Aurora Labastida
Illustrated by Marie Hall Ets
The Viking Press, New York, 1966
Aurora Labastida was a librarian for children's books in Mexico City. She co-wrote this story with Marie Hall Ets who illustrated it. First published in 1959, Nine Days to Christmas won a Caldecott Medal for illustration in 1960. Two other books that Ets illustrated won Caldecott Honors - In the Forest (1944) and Just Me (1965). Some other books illustrated by Marie Hall Ets are: Mister Penny (1935), Story of a Baby (1939), My Dog Rinty (1946), Oley, the Sea Monster (1947), Mister Penny's Race Horse (1956), and Jay Bird (1974).
Marie Hall Ets (1895-1984) was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After attending Lawrence college she became a social worker at the Chicago Commons, a settlement house. I was not able to find anymore information about Ets or Labastida. I'm don't know how Aurora and Marie got together, there is little to no information. If anyone has more info, please let me know, I will credit you as the source.