Posts Tagged ‘children’

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The Admirable Tinker

July 17, 2013

So, apparently not every seraphic but practical child protagonist Edgar Jepson creates is going to be wonderful. The title character of The Admirable Tinker, like Pollyooly, is repeatedly described as an angel child and has a knack for attracting improbably large sums of money, but the book lacks whatever it was that made Pollyooly so magical.

That said, I enjoyed The Admirable Tinker. Just not as much as I thought I was going to. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Top 10 Underappreciated Children’s Books 1/3

May 6, 2011

Okay, so the thing about this list? It’s going to be incredibly subjective. I’ve limited it to books I own, and to books I first read when I was the appropriate age for them. So, a) there are things that I haven’t included because I haven’t read them since I was in sixth grade, and I’ve never been able to track them down, and b) these are the books I grew up on, and my love for them isn’t always rational. I mean, I’m trying — Patty’s Summer Days isn’t on here because I know that not many people really go for that sort of thing. And there are books I loved as much as these that aren’t under-appreciated by any definition. I would like to note, however, that Little Women is not one of them. It is over-appreciated, and — okay, I can’t say I don’t like it at all. But I don’t like it very much, and I have lots of unpopular opinions about it. My best-loved Louisa May Alcott book is and always will be An Old-Fashioned Girl.

Anyway. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Call for Recommendations

January 22, 2011

I am looking for books in which people get murdered on trains. Also books in which people have to survive in the wilderness. Preferably published before, say, World War II.

Also children’s timeslip novels, any period. Those are the ones where kids sort of unintentionally go back in time. Like, a character gets into the elevator in her apartment building, only instead of it bringing her to her floor, it brings her to the 1880s. Or sometimes, when a character gets up in the middle of the night, there are Native Americans wandering down a trail where the laundry room should be. If anyone can identify either of those, by the way, I’d really appreciate it, because I can’t remember the titles or authors.

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Christmas Stories: Life and Sylvia

December 14, 2010

Life and Sylvia, by Josephine Balestier, wins the award for Most Condescending Christmas Story Ever. It looks like a children’s book, and it sounds like a children’s book, but I haven’t been able to figure out what the appeal is meant to be for kids. All the jokes are aimed at adults. All of them. And they’re all of the “isn’t it cute that kids don’t know anything” variety. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Christmas Stories: Christmas, A Happy Time; A Tale, Calculated for the Amusement and Instruction of Young Persons

December 17, 2009

Christmas, A Happy Time, by Alicia Catherine Mant (or, as the title page says, Miss Mant) is a typical children’s story of the 1830s, which means that nothing happens. Well, a dog dies, principally so that Miss Mant can make it clear just how important it is for children to obey their parents. Not that the children in this story do disobey their parents. It’s just — I really can’t see any point to this story. It’s not amusing, it’s not instructive, and it’s not Christmassy.

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My Father’s Dragon…

September 20, 2009

…is now available on Project Gutenberg.

Actually, it may have already been there–the “Recently Posted or Updated EBooks” feed doesn’t actually specify which is which. I think it’s new, although UPenn’s Celebration of Women Writers has had a version up for a while.

Any excuse to reread it, though, and a Gutenberg eBook is a pretty good excuse. It’s fully illustrated, and, well, completely wonderful in every way. Read it. Find a kid to read it to. Pull out your paperback copy — I have two — and smile at it, because you just can’t help it. Read the sequels. Be happy.

My Father's Dragon

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The Poor Little Rich Girl

September 4, 2009

I didn’t really like The Poor Little Rich Girl, by Eleanor Gates. I thought the first part was sort of good: Gwendolyn, the title character barely sees her wealthy parents, and her governess, her nurse, and the footman are sort of in league against her–they threaten her, take advantage of their position, and conspire to keep her from telling her mother and father how unhappy she is. It’s kind of intense, and a little bit difficult to read, because you really get a sense of Gwendolyn’s frustration and unhappiness. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Books I have neglected to post about since finishing The Girl From Hollywood

May 14, 2009

I keep wanting to do a post about Edgar Rice Burroughs’ book The Girl from Hollywood, and how an absolutely appalling series of coincidences gets three different women involved with an evil movie director named, if I recall correctly, Wilson Crumb. One gets addicted to cocaine and becomes a drug dealer (although he cannot get her to sleep with him);another gets addicted to cocaine, becomes his mistress, and dies of pnuemonia after he hits her; and one, after semi-successfully fending off his advances, shoots herself. The two drug-addicted ones are in love with the same young man, who lives on a ranch modeled after Burroughs’ own, and the attempted suicide is his sister. His name is Custer, and he spends a while in jail for murder. It’s all pretty miserable. If I had no interest in reading the Tarzan books before, I really don’t now.

Anyway: things I have read since The Girl From Hollywood, and liked better: Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Galloping Ghost

January 31, 2009

The Galloping Ghost is the second book I’ve read by Roy Judson Snell. The first was The Blue Envelope, which was an adventure for girls set in Alaska. I thought it was okay, but I questioned Snell’s choice of title: the blue envelope is largely irrelevant.

Can I say he’s got a problem with irrelevant titles after only two books? Because the ghost of the title is just a deus ex machina that occasionally drops by to give the detectives a clue to the mystery, and he’s not even as helpful as the detectives’ boy assistant Johnny, who basically provides the solution to the mystery by accidentally stumbling on clues near the local florist at every opportunity. His luck is so good that the book would only be half as long as it is now if he didn’t keep withholding information for no apparent reason. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Motor Car Dumpy Book

March 25, 2008

motingman

“These are the kind of clothes you wear when you go moting if you are a man.”

motingwoman

“These are the kind of clothes you wear when you go moting if you are a woman.

magistrate
“This is the magistrate who fines you £20 if you have been driving too fast. It is best not to drive too fast.”


The Motor Car Dumpy Book, by T.W.H. Crosland

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Just David

August 19, 2007

Last week I was on an Eleanor Porter kick. I’d never realized how many books she wrote that weren’t, you know, Pollyanna. Her Wikipedia entry says she wrote mostly children’s lit, but I’m not sure how much I trust her Wikipedia entry, seeing as it calls the three Miss Billy books children’s lit (questionable) and Just David a novel for adults (untrue). I have no idea whether it’s right about the rest of her books, since those are the four I’ve just read.

Just David came first, and I think I’d have been able to tell that it was by the author of Pollyanna even if I hadn’t already known. Either that or I would have thought an unknown author was just copying Eleanor Porter.
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Marjorie in Command

August 2, 2007

A few weeks ago I found Marjorie in Command at a tiny used book store where all hardcovers were a dollar each and paperbacks were fifty cents. (I also got a paperback of Paul Murray Kendall’s Richard III, and that’s part of why I haven’t been updating lately — it figures that I would use the time not taken up by my history classes to read a history book.) It’s by Carolyn Wells, and although I would have been happier to find a Patty Fairfield book, this is pretty good, too.
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The Blue Envelope

July 19, 2007

I haven’t updated much lately because I’m taking a couple of classes up at Columbia and they provide me with lots of reading. I haven’t had much time to read things for fun, let alone write about them. But there’s always more time for reading than writing, and I’ve built up a backlog of books (which sounds nicely alliterative, don’t you think?).

One of them is The Blue Envelope, by Roy J. Snell. I have a hard time describing this book. It wasn’t at all what I expected from the title, or even what I expected after reading the introduction. Actually, it wasn’t what I expected after having read half the book, which was, you know, somewhat disconcerting.
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Phronsie Pepper; The Youngest of the Five Little Peppers

June 18, 2007

I’m completely confused by Margaret Sidney’s Five Little Peppers books. It’s not about the contents of the books — they’re fairly straightforward. But the number and order of the books has always been a bit jumbled, and now, after reading Phronsie Pepper; The Youngest of the “Five Little Peppers,” I’m baffled.
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The Queen of the Pirate Isle

May 16, 2007

Polly

Remember how Little Old New York claimed to be “profusely illustrated”? Well, their definition of “profuse” clearly didn’t agree with mine. I’d be more inclined to apply the phrase to The Queen of the Pirate Isle, written by Bret Harte and illustrated by Kate Greenaway. In general, I like Greenaway’s work, and this batch of illustrations is very enjoyable, despite — or perhaps partly because of — the fact that the main character’s clothes seem to change period at random.
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