Only, as my sister Donna has just reminded me, it wasn't my first illustrated fairytale book at all. It wasn't even my first illustrated fairytale book featuring troublesome, trickster birds. The other fairytale in question had a very limited print run of one, and was a birthday present to Donna, somewhere around twenty years ago.
Now Donna has kindly scanned her personal copy and sent it to me so I can share it here. So, without further ado, I present to you, The Lost Composure, written and illustrated by Nancy Chase. (You'll quickly understand why I hired the talented Katrina Sesum to illustrate The Seventh Magpie, rather than doing it myself!)
And in case you're wondering, yes, the heroine of the story really does live on a little farm with ponies, cats, and chickens, in a place called Siberia, Maine. This is what it really looks like.