The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

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

Volume 14, 1903, pg. 473

The Shakespeare Story Book, by Mary MacLeod, illustrated by Gordon Browne (Wells, Gardner, Darton, 7/6). Miss Mary MacLeod has given us a singularly fascinating volume of tales—a sort of Arabian Night casket. She tells the Shakespeare tales with unstudied simplicity, and has a happy knack of introducing the words of Shakespeare on fit occasions. Miss MacLeod seldom uses ready-made phrases, but we wish her "brilliant company" had not "assembled" to see the wedding in Much Ado about Nothing. By the way, Mr. Gordon Browne gives a spirited picture of the interrupted wedding; capital too is his "Come, Kate, goodnight!" The stories run "trippingly," and we admire the unconstrained art of the story-teller, combined with faithfulness to the text. But why should we have other Tales from Shakespeare than those the Lambs bequeathed to us? This and other matters Mr. Sidney Lee makes clear in his very interesting and instructive preface. We think he is right in his contention that young people will be better able to appreciate the wonderful delineation of character in the dramas where tale and plot are quite familiar, and, that being granted, we wanted perhaps more detailed and accurate telling than our old nursery friend afforded. Any way here is a charming book which young and old will enjoy.

Open Air Studies of Bird-Life: Sketches of British Birds in their Haunts, by Charles Dixon (Griffin & Co., 7/6). There is little new to be said about British birds in a volume of "sketches," but the bird-student will find in this volume a great deal of interesting and useful information. For example, how does the swift get material for its nest, seeing that it never alights on the ground? Catches floating straws and feathers, says Mr. Dixon, or confiscates sparrows' nests. We think Mr. Dixon's arrangement should be useful to beginners, but also a little deceptive. The spotted flycatcher, the brambling, the redstart, etc., are by no means solely addicted to evergreens, and why should the chaffinch any more than the wren or the greenfinch be a bird of the spacious air! The stonechat and ring-ousel no doubt belong to heaths and moors, and the dipper to mountain becks, but is not the red-backed shrike more proper to cornfields than to hedgerows and highways? We cannot say that all the illustrations are either pleasing or instructive—for example, the dead poacher surrounded by pheasants, and the group of thrushes; but many of the thumb-nail sketches of heads and beaks and claws are very good. Mr. Dixon speaks of the call-note of the swallow as a shrill "whit," which reminds one that Chapman, translating Homer, calls it a "twink." The subject of birds is so fascinating that we all bring our little knowledge to bear in the way of criticism upon the author of a bird-book. All the same the bird-student will find in these sketches a great deal of help.

Proofread by Leslie Noelani Laurio, November 2008