Posts

Showing posts with the label children's books

Reading journal: Fairy Tales of China by Peter Lum

Image
Genre: Children Published: 1959 Date read: 1960, and a few times since Great little book with four traditional Chinese stories. The Dragon King is about the consequences of disobedience—the Dragon King makes it rain at the wrong time and place and is punished. The Sacred Ric e is another consequences story—stolen rice turns to stones in the robbers’ stomachs. The Chess Players is a story of gods messing with human lives, and The Wandering Sta r is about estranged lovers who may only meet once a year by crossing the Magpie Bridge in the heavens. Very tragic and romantic. I loved these stories as a child. I loved the illustrations and the strong moral messages, and the cultural strangeness for a little girl in a sheltered life in Australia. Later in life, partly because of this book, I spent years trying to learn Chinese. I didn’t really succeed, but I’m glad I tried. These stories are culturally important too. The Magpie Bridge is the name given to a Chinese communicat

*Anne with an E*

Image
We've been watching this loose adaptation of L M Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables" series on Netflix and enjoying it very much. The Canadian scenery is extraordinary, so much space and cold winds and sunshine. Anne Shirley is an orphan, adopted by a childless brother and sister who live on a farm on Prince Edward Island in Canada in the early 1900s. The series follows the highs and lows of Anne's life, beginning with her trials in the village school and adapting to island life, and progressing through love affairs, education and work into her adult life. I read the series avidly as a ten year old, borrowing each in turn from the public library. To my astonishment, my husband is now reading them (ebook versions). Unsurprisingly, he didn't read them as a boy, but as a man over 60 he's plowing through them, laughing and reading out the good bits. Anne Shirley with Marilla Cuthbert in "Anne with an E" on Netflix Right now he's read

Reading journal: Baby Elephant’s Trunk by Sesyle Joslin and Leonard Weisgard

Image
Genre: Children Published: 1961 Date read: April 2018 A book from my childhood. My mother was keen on teaching children languages, and I remember her reading it to me aloud. I did go on to learn French, although I wasn’t very good at it. This book introduces basic French vocabulary through a story. Baby elephant and his family are about to visit France, and his mother is teaching him some essential words. A charming little picture book with a fine touch of humour.

Reading journal: The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge

Image
Genre: Fantasy/Children Published: 1946 Date read: April 2018 This charming tale is set in the early Victorian era. Maria, an orphan, accompanied by her governess Miss Heliotrope and by the world’s most conceited dog, travels to the West Country to live with her cousin, Sir Benjamin Merryweather. A rich cast of characters helps Maria solve some mysteries, find out some secrets, and right some wrongs, ensuring everyone lives happily ever after. There is Old Parson, a musician; the evil Black Men led by Monsieur Coq le Noir; the courageous shepherd boy Robin and his mother Loveday, and a host of semi-magical animals. I loved this book as a child, and enjoyed it again this time. There is plenty of humour and lovely descriptions of the real landscape and the dreamlike fantasy world only a heartbeat away. Unfortunately, my nieces from the Harry Potter generation thought it was boring and refused to read it. Recommended, therefore, for adults. Worth it for the six-page descript

Reading journal: How St Francis Tamed the Wolf by Elizabeth and Gerald Rose

Image
Genre: Children Published: 1958 Date read: April 2018 I received this picture book for my fifth birthday, and it made a huge impression on me. The story is an old one. A wolf is terrorising a town. St Francis tames the wolf with kindness and the townspeople undertake to feed the wolf so that he won’t need to hunt. The illustrations are brilliant and funny. In one, the wolf chases the schoolmaster around in his nightshirt. Remember, I was only five years old. In another, the hunters are cautiously following the wolf’s footprints through the snow, while the wolf sneaks cunningly along BEHIND them. And the wolf has a very long, red tongue and very sharp teeth. My copy is worn and repaired with tape on every page. Also on every page are pencil scribble embellishments contributed by one of my younger brothers. That’s why we can never have anything nice. A great story about kindness and getting along. We could do with more of it.

Reading journal: Evangeline and the Mysterious Lights by Madeleine d’Este

Image
Genre: Fantasy Published: 2017 Series: The Antics of Evangeline Read: January 2018 Evangeline is a 17 year old inventor and troublemaker in 1882, in steampunk Melbourne, Australia. In this outing she tackles a mystery involving dirigibles. Both Evangeline and her father confront old nemeses and win the day through derring-do in the skies. I thought this book was a little rushed compared with the earlier stories, but still fun for young teens.

Reading journal: Evangeline and the Alchemist by Madeleine d’Este

Image
Genre: Fantasy Published: 2016 Series: The Antics of Evangeline Read: January 2018 Great light read for younger teenagers, set in a steampunk Melbourne, Australia, in 1882. Evangeline and her friend Mei track down and confront an evil alchemist who has turned iron into gold, but unfortunately the transmutation is temporary. The girls rely on Evangeline’s inventions, Mei’s martial arts and a small injection of magic to escape with their lives. Fun.