The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Volume 14, 1903, pgs. 869-874
Lectures on the Logic of Arithmetic, by M. E. Boole (Oxford: Clarendon Press). Mrs. Boole remarks in her preface that, "In arithmetic, where it is especially important, hardly any opportunity is afforded for practice in swinging the mind between the conceptions Unity, Negation, and Fraction." One aim of Mrs. Boole's valuable contribution to the art of thinking is to afford opportunity and indicate methods for "swinging the mind" between these conceptions. There is an increasing conviction in the general mind that arithmetic, as it is taught, nay, that Euclid and algebra, as they are taught, are, so to speak, mere legerdemain [trickery] of the mind—that a pupil can go far and distinguish himself in all these without having advanced a single step in the art of clear thinking. Parents and teachers who have arrived at this conclusion, will welcome Mrs. Boole's lectures on the logic of arithmetic—a small volume to be slowly digested, the earlier chapters being "suited to little children, the later ones for children of 14 or 15." We are not sure that we like the reference to "the hairy woman in Clodd's book."
England in the Nineteenth Century, by C.W. Oman (Arnold, 3/6). Prof. Oman has done valuable service in producing a handy and lucid History of England in the Nineteenth Century, from the Peace of Amiens to the Imperial Federation. We may trust to his pages for a temperate, just—and, considering the limits of space—adequate treatment of the multitudinous notable persons, events, and movements which marked the century. Such a volume is really a necessary companion to the newspaper.
Greek History for Young Readers, by Alice Zimmern (Longmans, 4/6). Miss Alice Zimmern has done a useful piece of work in a manner at once scholarly and simple. The author meets the test which should, we believe, be applied to all school books: she combines enthusiasm for her subject with accuracy and fullness of detail. Believing as we do that all children should be brought up on Plutarch's Lives, we are particularly glad of a handy and intelligent resumé of Greek History, to supply the missing links, illustrations, and necessary explanations. The newer and more correct spelling of Greek names will be puzzling to children who have grown familiar with other forms; they will hardly recognize, for example, 'Hercules' in Herakles. The maps and the tables at the end should be very useful. Miss Zimmern has done service to the cause of education by producing a living, though short, treatment of her subject.
Memoirs of a Child, by Annie Steger Winston (Longmans, 2/6). This is a delightful little book; it shows real insight into a child's thoughts and ways from that which, we believe, is the only standpoint open to us—the recollections of a grown-up who is able to recall the child that he was. Mrs. Winston writes with singular simplicity and sincerity, and without a trace of egotism. There is much to be learned about "The Child and its Earth"—playthings, books, language, and what not. It is a book for mothers, not for children.
The Crimson Fairy Book, by Andrew Lang (Longmans, 6/-). In vain does Mr. Andrew Lang protest that he does not make up all these tales, but gets them from Hungary, Russia, Servia, Rommania, Sicily, Finland, Iceland and Japan, not to mention a few other places. Children and their mothers still believe that he makes them all. The stories have, for the most part, been adapted or translated by Mrs. Lang, and she, as the readers of the story books of all the other colours know, tells a fairy tale in just the right way. We envy the children who will read these fascinating tales knowing quite well that they are true! It is good to read at the end of a tale "from Iceländische Mährchen" or from Finnische Mährchen, or from the Roumanian, or what-not. It makes one feel in fellowship with all the children of all the world.
Tales from the Faerie Queene, by C. L. Thomson. We think Miss Clara Thomson has done a useful piece of work in giving us these short tales from the first two books of The Fairie Queene. For ourselves, we should prefer that children read these books or listened to the reading of them; children of ten and upwards are quite able to take joy in the poetry and to take to themselves the teaching of this our great ethical poem, dropping, as the poet meant it should, "like the gentle rain from heaven" upon the virgin soil of fresh young hearts. But this is a counsel of perfection, and, if we must have the tales done into prose, Miss Clara L. Thomson has done it well. Miss Stratton's illustrations are pleasing.
The Life of Julius Agricola, by Cornelius Tacitus, translated by Sir Henry Saville (Norland Press, 8d.). The Norland Press has given us a treasure trove. The life of Julius Agricola, by Tacitus (who married his daughter), including the history of the great consul's government of Britannie (Britain), in Sir Henry Saville's vigorous Tudor English, is a really delightful gain and we are grateful. The Roman conquest will be something more than a name to children and grown-ups who read this little volume.
Nature Study, (a) Nests and Eggs of Familiar Birds, by H. G. [Henry Gardiner] Adams (Newmann, 5/-). Mr. Adams has written a nice book. He both knows and cares about birds and writes with the élan of a naturalist, even though he sometimes talks down to his readers. His book should be a pleasant spring companion, showing bird-lovers where and when to be on the look-out for nests. (b) Observation Lessons on Plant Life, by Mrs. Ussher and Dorothy Jebb (Newmann, 3/6). We like Mrs. Ussher's book very much. "Therefore," she says, "at school let us ask the young to watch, nor bribe nor satiate them with too much talk about great matters." The book consists of observation lessons on plant life for two years, with brushwork and outline drawings for each lesson. The pages of designs, especially the daisy-chain design, are very charming. Throughout, the authors give the living teaching of an intelligent mind, and the children who study their book will have learned something of the arts of seeing and thinking.
Ways of the Six-Footed, by A. B. Comstock (Ginn & Co., 2/-). The stories in this volume were written to illustrate "that wherever there is life there are problems confronting it." The book is pleasantly written and we are grateful for any attempt to increase our knowledge of insect life, though we could wish that the evolutionary standpoint of the writer had been less evident; foregone conclusions are not quite interesting.
Insect Folk, by M. W. [Margaret Warner] Morley (Ginn & Co., 2/-). Miss Morley's Insect Folk is more of a Kindergarten treatment of the same subject. The chapter on the Fairy May Flies is pretty.
Nature Studies, by G. F. Scott Elliot (Blackie & Son). We are grateful to Mr. Scott Elliot for his protest against the undue use of technical terms and for his own effort to avoid them. We rather wish, though, he had written only for those who study plants for love, and not those who study for profit. We find the key to Mr. Elliot's method contained in a sentence from his preface—"Every detail in the structure of a plant has both history and a meaning. My aim has been to point out how the student of nature can follow part of the history and can discover the meaning." We think that, in this useful and interesting volume, the author has kept his aim well in view.
Les Français D'Autrefois, by Tetta S. Wolff (Arnold, 1/6). We are heartily glad to see this little book. "French history," says the author, "is brimming over with vivid scenes and stirring incidents," and she has given us, in racy and graceful French, such scenes and interests from the reign of Clovis to that of Louis XIV. The volume ends with a few pages of notes and vocabulary and should be used as a companion to a more detailed history of France, possibly written in English.
Longman's School Poetry Books, edited by W. Peterson (Senior, 2/6; Junior, 1/6). Two charming anthologies for children, without a note or an explanation; and the bold editor advises that a class be occasionally allowed to "browse" on its poetry books instead of writing abstracts of lessons. Of the two, we think we prefer the Junior School Poetry Book, enriched by several poems of Stevenson and Blake, for example. But Dr. Peterson has a fine catholic taste which welcomes the old and the new.
From Alfred to Victoria [hands across the thousand years], by George Eayrs (Swan, Sonnenschein & Co., 2/6). The author carries us through the centuries rather by following the career of "the chief worker," and considering the "most salient features of each century," than by attempting minute details. The tenth century is made to center round Alfred the Saxon, the eleventh round William the Norman, the twelfth round S. Francis of Assisi, the fifteenth round Luther, the sixteenth round Shakespere, and so on. We think the plan admirable. It offers, so to speak, a sequence of thought through the ages, without distraction of infinite detail, and, at the same time, the manner of life of each age is illustrated in one or more great men who lived that life.
Dame Wynton's Home (a tale illustrating the Lord's Prayer), by Mrs. [Frances Elizabeth G.] Carey Brock (Seeley, 1/6). We are glad to welcome a new impression of one of Mrs. Carey Brock's helpful tales. The historical setting is especially fresh and interesting.
When I Was a Child, by An Old Potter [Charles Shaw], with an introduction by Dr. Spence Watson (Methuen, 6/-). A narrative of child-labour in the 'forties' when, as Dr. Spence Watson remarks, "the condition of the children employed in our mines and factories was simply appalling." The book is of unique value, as probably few who underwent the hardships here described are able to tell the tale even if they are living to do so. The book has the interest which belongs to all sincere personal narratives.
The Story of the North Country (Arnold, 1/6) belongs to a series of Local Readers, a distinctly good idea. This volume contains much interesting information, but the style is forbidding.
A History of Great Britain, by T. F. [Thomas Frederick] Tont (Longman's Historical Readers, Book II., 3/6). The author appears to have made the mistake which is, we think, at the root of our national ignorance of our own history. This is the second book of the series "which," says the author, "aims at traversing the same ground with greater thoroughness." Children like to break new ground. Professor Tont's book is interestingly written.
A First History of England, Part IV., by C. L. [Clara Linklater] Thomson (Norland Press). Miss Clara Thomson writes carefully. She can tell a story and has an eye for the picturesque. The last fight of "The Revenge" is very well told.
Les Deux Fées and other French Plays for Children, by Violet Partington (Marshall & Son). Little French plays for children 6-12. A capital idea and the plays are pretty.
Persephone, by Bertha Skeat (The Norland Press), in which Persephone, Demeter, and their kind, play their parts along with Mangnali of the Questions) and other personages of the schoolroom; pretty sad spirited.
First Lesson in Arithmetic, by W. P. Turnbull (Newmann & Co.) A careful piece of work in which the author gets up to 100 in the course of many lessons; but we fear that this is the sort of book which drenches a child in explanations.
Songs and Games for Little Ones, edited by E. R. Murray (Curwen and Sons, 4/6). A volume of pretty kindergarten songs and games.
Games with Music, by Lois Bates (Longmans 2/-). Another volume of the same kind—the words apparently by the author. We cannot say that, in either volume, either words or tunes seem to us good enough for children.
Toujours Prét, Ideographic French Reader (Marlborough & Co., 2/-). An ingenious treatment of some of the principles of French grammar by means of ideographs. On the right-hand page we have a tale,—Toujour's prêt ou L'Orphelin, and, on the left, a series of graphs illustrating such matters as tenses, comparison of adjectives, feminines of nouns, use of subjunctive and so on. These are ingenious and clear. To the grown-up mind, the labour of mastering one of these ideographs is considerable, but children are fond of puzzles, and if they are left to themselves to find out the meaning of the criss-cross figures, the numbers and the lettering, they will probably at length arrive. We should advise however that each ideograph should be proposed as a puzzle!
Reading and Elocution in the Schools and Colleges of the United States of America, by Beatrice Bardsley (Ladies' College, Cheltenham). We are exceedingly glad to see Miss Beatrice Bardsley's Report concerning the far-famed teaching of Elocution and Reading in the United States. It is a singularly able report, appreciative but discriminating. Elocution and oratory classes and colleges appear to be run in America as some subjects are in England—rather by faddists than by sound, all-round educationalists. "As for reading, speaking generally," says Miss Bardsley, "I do not consider that the reading in American Schools reached a high standard." At the same time, during her four months' tour in the States as Gilchrist travelling scholar, nominated by the Council of Cheltenham Ladies' College, Miss Bardsley gathered many admirable suggestions, both as to what we might imitate, and what we should do well to avoid.
Analytical Grammar as applied to the Latin language (Rivingtons). Marked by clearness, simplicity of arrangement, and, above all, by clear and striking types.
Longman's New Fairy Tale Readers for Infants—The Snow Man (3d); The Three Little Pigs (3d); Chin-Chin Chinaman (4d). We are glad to see these Fairy Tale Readers. Each little book is charming, but they are unequal. Chin-Chin Chinaman is much the best told tale. The pictures in the three books are pleasing.
The Gospel in North Africa, by J. Rutherford and E. H. Glenny (Land, Humphries & Co.) A capital missionary record, with the sort of interesting pictures and studies of the peoples of North Africa which should give meaning to missionary effort.
Kinderfremien, von A. E. C. (Oxford Clarenden Press, 1/6). An admirable and really interesting little German reading book for beginners.
A Guide to the Best Historical Novels and Tales, by Jonathan Nield (Elkin, Matthews). Mr. Nield's idea is capital. He gives us tables, century by century, showing title, author, publisher, and subject—a most useful work, both for teachers and parents. The only qualification we should offer points to an inevitable danger in an undertaking of the kind, that is, small books are classed with great ones. In the hands of a person of literary discrimination, however, this should be a safe guide.
Paton's List of Schools, 1903 (Paton, 143, Cannon Street, E.C., 1/6). Mr. Paton's book is rather impressive. One sees how much of the education of the country is still in the hands of private teachers, masters and mistresses, and the various prospectuses included in the volume give the reader a sense of good work and conscientious effort. Examinations, games and healthy surroundings are the advantages commonly offered.
Geographical Readers, Stages i and ii. (Newmann & Co.) A pleasant and interesting treatment of (a) Home and Neighbourhood; (b) Definitions and Observations made on Country and Seaside Rambles.
Latin Grammar Rules, by W. H. S. [William Henry Samuel] Jones (The Norland Press, 6d). Messrs. Cassell have, as usual, catered well for the little people whose parents approve of magazines for children. Pretty verses, pretty stories, and pretty pictures are in all these volumes. We wish "Tommy at the Museum" had been left out of Bo-Peep. It is rather appalling.
Proofread by Leslie Noelani Laurio, August 2008
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