The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
"En hoexkens ende boexkens."
Among books which, if not entirely suitable for children, contain much that will delight them, I may note the following:--"Fairy and Folk Tales," edited by W. Yeats (Camelot Series, 1s.); Folk-lore Stories (Scotch, Irish, German, Oriental), 4 vols. (Messrs, Gibbins, 6s.); Keightley's "Fairy Mythology" (Messrs. Bell, 5s.); Fantômes Bretons (Messrs. Dillet, Paris, 3s. 6d.) To begin with the last; Brittany, like Egypt, is the home of marvels, and the contes, legendes, and nouvelles of this book are as strange and as beautiful as the legend of the Bells of Ys, now endowed with a new immortality by M. Renan. I would always impress on people that it is not necessary to give over to a child's keeping the books bought for children, for very often an author mingles children's stories with others which are fit neither for children nor for anyone else. But books which contain one or two stories which may be retold and worked up, are a good addition to a home library. In this Breton collection the first story, "Le pousseur de la dourdu," is one of the many sad sea legends, and "Les poires d'or," is a delightful fairy tale. Some persons will not approve of the ecclesiastical portion of the story, "The Man without a Head"; but in retelling the tale you may omit the saint, and hold on with childish gravity to the head "qui branlait dèja et allait, glisser, glisser, glisser, de dessus ses épaules." The stories are connected by the artistic links of sonnets; and part of one I quote.
O Crux Ave.
Mr. Yeats' book is worth its shilling and more, if it were only for the story of the "Little Bird" (the prose version of Longfellow's monk Felix, which is an Irish legend), the "Giant's Stairs," and "Priest's Soul." The book is a collection, and many of the tales may be found in Lady Wilde's larger volume, and in other storehouses of Celtic romance; but it is a startlingly good collection, and the Leprechauns, the Banshees, and the Witches are well represented. Furious fun and grim horrors are side by side; and the reader of folk-tales is at first delighted and then hopelessly confused by finding in Celtic dress stories which he has seen in the wonder-books of other lands. The notes are good, and any one who wants to know what the actual cry of the Banshee is like, can find it here in crochets and quavers.
It is hardly necessary to praise Keightley's Fairy Mythology," but I would like to recommend it to any people who are hard up for fairy tales. Take your Keightley; open it anywhere, read five lines, add from your own experiences; mix up with a few topical allusions, and serve to your young audience --hot. The book is good for some six hundred applications of dishes.
The tastefully-bound volumes named "Folk-lore" and "Legend" contain much that is old and a good deal that is new. But the old stories, such as the "Two Bottles," "Fly Cantillon's Funeral," and the "Nurse's Adventure" are very well put, and the "Red Cap" and the "Goose Girl" may be new to many people. The Mouse tower is our old friend Bishop Hatto in a prose dress, and the story of "The Dancers" is from an Anglo-Saxon source, I believe. The Editor, who is not above making a mistake in his Latin to show us that he is mortal, conceals himself under a three-leaved initial. He might have given us better prefaces; but he has got his wares together from many bazaars (bazars, he would say), and deserves to sell them. From "Monica" (a German leaflet, which comes out every fortnight, and is occasionally accompanied by a flower) I take the following prayer:--"Gott, Du bist der rechte Vater, Schöpher, und Herr meiner Kinder, und hast sie als teure Pfäänder mir anvertraut um sie zu Deiner Ehre, zu ihrigem ewigen Heile und zum Wohle ihrer Mitmenschen zu erziehen, Dir opfere ich sie auf, sie sind Dein. Segne O Herr, Deine geschöpfe, bewahre sie vor dem Bösen, heilige sie in der Wahrheit und Tugend, dass sie fromm und vollkommen vor Dir wandeln. Mich aber lass' nie vergessen dass meiner Kindere unsterblich sind, und dass ich durch die Erziehund und Bildung, die ich ihnen gebe, den grund zu ihrem Zustande in der Ewigkeit lege. Lass' mich auch tief die Rechenschaft zu Gemüte fassen, die ich einst über ihre Seelen werde zu geben haben; lass' nicht zu fass eine derselben durch meine Schuld und Nachlässigkeit verloren gehe, sondern hilf mir sie so zu erziehen dass ich einst von ihnen umgeben von Dir erscheinen und sagen könne Siehe, Vater, von denen die Du mir gegeben hast, habe ich keinen verloren. Amen."
A short poem from the same magazine I will give in the March number.
STORY BOOKS FOR CHILDREN.--Mrs. Molesworth's books are, perhaps, too well known to need recommendation. Yet I think some of the very best among them are less known than they deserve to be, being less advertised than those published by Macmillan. Routledge is the publisher of "The Boys and I," "Hermy," and "Hoodie"--all special favourites in my family. The first and last, especially, my children are never tired of, and the youngest, who cannot read, or even understand them, yet is quite familiar with the names of author, books, and characters, which are literally household words. Lady Barker's books are also such as deserve a place in all children's libraries, bearing to be read over and over again, they are so original, and there is so much variety in them, and most of them being founded on fact, their charm is the more appreciated. "Boys" is published by Routledge; "White Rat, &c." Macmillan; "Ribbon Stories," "Stories about Christmas in Four Quarters," Warne & Co.
FRENCH BOOKS FOR CHILDREN.--I think French story books suitable for English children are not very common. I can most strongly recommend those by Madame de Pressense (publishers: Hachette & Co., Charing Cross; Dulan & Co., Soho Square). They are perfectly unaffected, giving a bright, amusing picture of French domestic life and character, and are of a healthy, religious tone (Protestant). "Rosa" is suitable for children of eight to twelve, "La Maison Blanche" for somewhat older ones, and "Thérèse" us a sweet story for young girls. There are several others which I have not yet read. Mrs. Molesworth's "French Life in Letters" (Macmillan & Co.) is delightful, while for a first French reading book nothing can be better than "L'Aube du Jour" (the translation of "Peep of Day"), especially when the English original is already familiar.
I should like to recommend to interested readers of the article "From an Interleaved Prayer Book," in the December number of the Parents' Review, "Old Wells Reopened: A Manual of Devotion from Forgotten Sources," an admirable little volume edited by Dr. Marcus Dods, and published by Messrs. Hodder & Stoughton, London.
Typed by happi, May 2018
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