The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
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Books.


Volume 5, 1894, pg. 228-231


The Street of Human Habitations, by Ray S. Lineham, member of the Japan Society, with nearly 400 illustrations (Science and Art Series), Chapman and Hall; price 6s

Members of P.N.E.U. will thoroughly appreciate this delightful work, which, though evidently written to make difficult themes clear to children's minds, is by no means childish.

A glance at the table of contents would alone tempt one to buy the book. From "Men of bone and men of stone and metal," with their cave and lake dwellings, ingenious weapons, curious old-world animal drawings, funeral customs, and interesting primeval religious symbols of rings and crosses, we are led on with ever deepening interest till we arrive centuries later, yet still among the early "morning mists" in the mysterious Egyptian land; each step having been made luminous by the pictures which enliven almost every page.

In Egypt, for example, the Tomb of the Sacred Bull, the famous Hall of the Temple at Karnak, Egyptian toys of 3000 years ago are illustrated, and the hieroglyphic writing is explained.

On seeing the portrait of the Pharaoh who oppressed Israel (taken from his mummy in the Ghizeh Museum), a little boy to whom we have been reading this book remarked, "But I always thought he was drowned in the Red Sea?" "So used we," was the reply, "but then people say otherwise now." Like Cecil Rhodes, the little man, not to be baffled, "squared it" by responding in a meditative tone, "Oh! then perhaps his body was washed up by the waves, and the Egyptians fished it out."

The story of the man-queen Hatasu, "his majesty herself," who voyaged into Punt (Somali-land) and brought back the dwarf queen, with countless treasures of strange animals, rare trees, gums, spices, gold, and ivory for the great Temple to Ameu-Ra at Thebes is pleasantly told.

"By the waters of Babylon," the author shews us many curious things, including a specimen of the Deluge tablet.

In Phoenicia we learn the process of extracting the Tyrian purple dye from Murex shells, and visit the tomb of King Midas with the asses' ears. In Persia we see strange pictures of a family on horseback, a corpse caravan en route to the sacred city of Koom, and a Tower of Silence near Teheran; while the arts of damascening, calico-printing and weaving Persian carpets are graphically described.

India, the "Centre-land," the cradle of our race, must ever have more than usual interest for us, her fellow-subjects; but now we have only space to call attention to the "Four-handed child-workers" on page 284, and the pictures of Prince Siddhartha and "the Great Renunciation" (pages 292-294) recall Zoroaster's beautiful thought (quoted page 232), "The Light of God is concealed under all that shines," of which truth we shall do well to remind ourselves when meeting with the devotees of other religions than our own.

Mrs. Lineham's last chapter about the "Children of Fuji-San" will delight all lovers of Japan.

    "What a beautiful country Japan must be!" Said my little daughter thoughtfully, As she studied the views on her fan,

    " It has red and white skies, and a mountain blue, It has green and white grass, and pink trees too; Did you know trees were pink in Japan?"

She quotes some of the charming Japanese fairy tales (which I am astonished to find are so little known in England;*) and tells us motto voce that while Japanese children speak of the "benevolent mother, fathers are so strict that they have earned for themselves a place among "the Four Fearful things of the world"--Earthquakes, thunder, conflagrations and--fathers! * Messrs. Kegan Paul publish "The Japanese Fairy World," by Griffis. Like herself we own to the witching enchantments of the Sunrise Land, with which confession she closes her fascinating volume--a book which exactly meets the need one feels for giving our young sons and daughters glimpses into the Art and Religion of the by-gone days entirely free from all that has hitherto rendered these studies difficult and, in many ways, undesirable.

In conclusion we would add that those of our readers who value "Clear Round! or Seeds of Stories from other Countries" (Sampson Low) will be charmed to take a second journey the reverse way, half round the world, with another Member of the Japan Society, who gives the ampler historical and archaeological information which could only be lightly touched upon in those pages.

Criticism in Guild Life and Work, by the Rev. A. H. Charteris, D.D., Professor of Biblical criticism in the University of Edinburgh and Ex-moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

The Country month by month (1 s), by J. A. Owem and Professor G. S. Boulger, F.L.S., F.G.S., published Blin, Sands & Co. The first of this series began in March, and we have read it with interest. But why must the dwellers in the "north countree" always read with envy of the birds, and insects and flowers that can only be found in the south? Granted that there are more varieties in the sunny south, still the north also has beauties of its own, as all the lovers of the lake country and Yorkshire Dale will testify. We recommend this magazine to readers who desire to learn quickly and pleasantly what is happening each month in the world of nature.

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DEAR EDITOR,--Those who were interested in a subject recently discussed in your pages should read "A Family Budget" in the National Review for March, and the still more valuable letter in reply which appears this month. Judging from a notice in the Review of Reviews, the February Forum contains an article of the highest interest by Mr Oscar Chrisman. "The child," he says, "is the most important object upon earth for our consideration," yet strangely enough, there has been hitherto no proper science of the child. "There is less known about the child, and less attention given to his care, than to almost anything else." He pleads, therefore, for "child study, a new department of education," and urges that the child should be studied in a scientific manner by scientists, whose sole business should be such study. Paidology,"as he calls this science, should receive a little of the attention that is now given in our colleges to trigonometry, so that our young men and women may be really trained for parental duties: and he rejoices in the formation of "The National Association for the Study of Children," at the head of which is President G. Stanley Hall, of Clark University, who has recently issued an excellent syllabus of topics for the study of children. The same magazine contains an article by Professor J. H. Hyslop, on "How to teach children morals." I wish the Forum and Arena were more easily obtainable in our English libraries; their contents often seem most valuable, and the cuttings from them in our papers are very tantalizing.

A letter from "A Mother" in the Daily Chronicle of the 5th inst. deserves a longer life than it can have in the columns of a daily paper. The writer things the occasion favourable to call attention to a much needed "Revolt of the Mothers," not connected with their daughters but with their sons. Why should mothers teach their boys to pray that they may follow Christ, be truthful, honest, pure in word and deed, loving God, their father, mother, home, and their neighbour as themselves, when the moment they enter school and through their after lives they learn practically that these things are well enough for their mothers and sisters, but for them quite another religion is needed? To stand up for themselves, to knock their neighbour down when he stands in the way, to be truthful and honest--well, yes, to men it is better policy, but as to women, hardly--certainly this is no obligation to women of a lower class than their own; as to women in their own class, truth must there be tempered with discretion. To be pure in word and deed; rubbish, says the world, that would indeed be impossible. Alas! It is often blasphemously added, undesirable. This is the practical every-day religion, tempered only by the weekly sermon at school or college, which may preach Christ or may only preach the Church and Dogma. The boys come home, are selfish to their sisters, overbearing to their mothers. The fathers say little, while the mothers fondly hope is but the development of manliness, mistaking the false for the true Christian manliness. So our barbarian training goes on, and we wonder that selfishness, cruelty, injustice are rampant (vide Herbert Spencer's "Sociology"). Let English mothers declare such a state of things to be what it is, revolting, and that it must and shall be changed. Let the mother's influence, of which we hear much from the mouths and pens of men, be supported by fathers, masters, and all who have the care of boys and young men. Then, and not till then, we may hope to see the rising generation Christian, and not, as at present, practically heathen." Letters like this and articles like that of Mrs. Sheldon Amos in this months's Contemporary are hopeful signs to that we are awakening to the iniquity of allowing our boys to grow up with a lower standard of morality than our girls. Too sadly true at present are the words of an African Christian now studying at Cambridge, "England needs to be converted to Christianity."

A book that all branches of the P.N.E.U. should have in their libraries is "Health at School," by Dr. Clement Dukes, physician to Rugby School. In about 200 pages the writer gives in a highly methodical and practical way and immense amount of valuable instruction to parents on subjects of such importance as the selection of a suitable school, sanitary education before entering school; the boarding and school house with its studies, dormitories, sanitary arrangements, class rooms, &c.; he also treats of diet, games, bathing, illness and vocations, with other chapters on the special needs of day scholars and girls. Wherever the book is opened the reader, whether parent or teacher, will find some wise hint the cannot fail to be of benefit to the children under his care whilst the author's experience and evident mastery of his subject add weight to the advice which he tenders in so readable a style.

The biographies of the late Professor Robertson Smith afford one more proof, if any be needed, of the influence of early home training upon character. His European reputation for profound learning and simple piety he doubtless owed in large measure to his father, a man of high scholarship and great mental force. His was a home (to quote the British Weekly) where the severest intellectual discipline went along with warm family affections and earnest religious feeling.

Science Siftings, in continuing its good work of exposing the pretensions of quackery, has devoted three articles to a certain notorious "syrup," against which, however, your readers will hardly need to be warned.

PATER JUNIOR.

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The Hon. Secretary of the Belgravia Branch having had so many requests that the Drawing Correspondence Lessons may be continued during the summer, writes to say that arrangements are now being made to carry on the class. Mr. E. Cooke, whose methods of teaching brush-work and drawing are too well known to need explanation, will begin a course of 10 lessons to children in London on April 30th. The Hon. Secretary will arrange that these lessons shall be taken down verbatim, and that copies will be made of drawings done during the lesson. It was found that this plan worked very successfully when the last course was held, and that it was possible by this means to teach children living n the country by Mr. Cooke's method. The lessons given in the summer term will be more especially on brushwork, so that the children may learn not only to lay on colour, but to draw organic forms with different touches of the brush without making any previous outline.

Those who wish to join the Correspondence Class should apply at once to the Hon. Sec., 63, St. George's Road, London, S.W.

The fee is £1 1s for the Course.



Typed by AniElizabeth, Sept 2018