Unread Children’s Classics

gullivervictorianFor reasons that escape me, I’ve at least 3 editions of Gulliver’s Travels. I haven’t read it, have no plans to read it. Just like I have no plans to read Treasure Island, Little Women, or Men, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, Kidnapped, anything by Kipling, or Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Is the last even a children’s title? These are considered classics. My question–who determines such things? Who  designates one book over another as a classic? How did The Swiss Family Robinson turn into a venerable read? Or Heidi? Sales? I doubt it. It had to be some dry critic of eons past who bestowed upon Heidi the crown of  ‘classic.’  I’ve tried numerous times to read the book, but Shirley Temple keeps intruding her voice echoing, “Grandfather, Grandfather” over and over. That reminds me of two others I can’t seem to get past the first few chapters–The Little Princess, and The Secret Garden. Shirley’s half sobbing shouts, “Father, Father, don’t you know me? You MUST know me, I’m Sara, I’m your Sara!” as Queen Victoria wheels by makes drab the narrative of the original Princess. Naturally all ends well within the movies. I heard a rumor, however, that in the book, the father is really dead and never returns to poor Sara. No way will I crack open that book to be dashed in the end.

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Separating the Writer From His Work

I was searching for info about an Alice in Wonderland in french, illustrated by an artist Morin, when  another link popped up about a novel called Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin published in 2010. I was surprised not to have known of it, and very excited to find it–I’d read slews of things about … Read more

Appreciating All Of Jack's Houses–Comparing Illustrators

Anne Anderson’s House That Jack Built is worlds apart from a Victorian’s book plate, or Art Deco vision, or a Golden Book’s mid century idea of what the perfect abode would look like in Mother Goose Land. Because of these differences it’s like a birthday, or holiday whenever a collector finds a new version of … Read more

The Best Books Of All Time

I asked myself, what does that mean? The best books of all time? Best fiction? Best nonfiction? Both? From what time frame–the beginning of time–do cave drawings count? Books–are plays included, how about poems, religious tomes, children’s books, what languages, the questions were endless, with no definitive answer. The lists I saw ranged from strict … Read more

Should One Person Decide A Schoolbook Should Be Banned?

One woman’s quest to ban a book in a Middle York, PA elementary school library continues on, even though district officials and educators deemed it acceptable reading in March 2010. The book in question is Stolen Children by Peg Kehret. A quick synopsis: A 14 year old and the child she’s babysitting are kidnapped, held, and … Read more