The Princess and the Goblin

Today’s book recommendation comes from the brilliant English writer, Gilbert Keith Chesterton.

Quote from the introduction written by G.K. Chesterton for George MacDonald and His Wife by Greville M. MacDonald (full essay available on chesterton.org)

Chesterton was not the only author who esteemed George MacDonald. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis both loved and were influenced by MacDonald’s writings.

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The full text of The Princess and the Goblin is available on Gutenberg.org, which has free downloadable books that are in the public domain.

Memoria Press has published a printed copy of the book with Jessie Willcox Smith’s illustrations (in my opinion, the very best!). 

 

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Beloved Board Books

boardbooks

What makes for a great board book?

eye-catching images . . .

repetition . . .

rhyme . . .

a delightful story . . .

it interacts with the senses  . . .

a soothing quality . . .

it teaches basic concepts or introduces the arts . . .

Which board books have fallen apart in our home from overuse? The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Pat the Bunny (Honestly, who’s copy of Pat the Bunny hasn’t fallen apart? The teeth comb: WHY?) and Moo, Baa, La La La!

What board books do we read at bedtime? Good Night, Gorilla, The House in the Night, and Goodnight Moon

Which board books are always good for a laugh? Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, The Napping House, Diggers Go, and Moo, Baa, La La La!

What are the most beautifully-illustrated board books we own? The House in the Night, 1 is One, and I am a Bunny

What board books would I purchase as a gift for a baby shower? The House in the Night, I am a Bunny, or My First Winnie-the-Pooh, which is a small collection of A. A. Milne’s magnificent poetry

Beloved Board Books

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

Diggers Go by Steve Light

Freight Train by Donald Crews

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Have You Seen My Duckling? by Nancy Tafuri

The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson

I am a Bunny by Richard Scarry

Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss

My First Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne (poetry)

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

The Napping House by Audrey & Don Wood

1 is One by Tasha Tudor

Pat the Bunny (Touch and Feel Book) by Dorothy Kunhardt

A Picnic with Monet by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober, and others in the “Mini Masters” series

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTABLE PDF BOOKLIST


Are any of these board books beloved in your home? What are your family’s favorites? Please share in the comments below!

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Poetry Recommendation: Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris

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“The Children’s Hour”

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
That is known as the Children’s Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O’er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!


I discovered this poem in a collection of poetry titled Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris. The pastel yellow book accompanies me most days to the homeschooling table and in the brief moments of quiet when my children are huddled over their work, I mark poems I would like to read-aloud to them or assign for their memorization work.

The collection is comprehensive (the book itself is almost 600 pages) and includes poems from authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Walter de la Mare, Christina Rossetti, Alfred Tennyson, William Shakespeare, Edward Lear, and J.R.R. Tolkien. The poems are divided into categories with playful titles like “My Almanac,” “It’s Fun to Play,” “Bird-watcher,” “From the Family Scrapbook, and “Almost Any Time is Laughing Time.” The double-page introducing each category is illustrated with attractive line drawings by the talented Leonard Weisgard. Since the poems themselves are not illustrated, the book is best for a graduating young reader who wants to digest more poetry or for reading-aloud to children of multiple ages.

I will not add this to my nursery classics booklist until I have read through it in its entirety, but I have a strong suspicion it will earn a place.


Have you discovered any wonderful poetry collections? Please share in the comments below.

Looking for more poetry recommendations? Click here.

 

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One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey

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This week’s featured title is . . .

One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey

Sal, her younger sister Jane, and parents enjoy their summer months at their seaside home in Maine. An ordinary day–which includes digging clams for supper and taking a boat to the nearest town for supplies–becomes exciting when Sal loses her first tooth, in more ways than one!

Robert McCloskey is a children’s book author with an excellent corpus. His endearing stories are pulled off the shelf by my children constantly and I enjoy reading them as often as I am asked.

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My children appreciate most McCloskey’s memorable and relatable characters, especially the older sister in One Morning in Maine, Sal. Much of the humor of One Morning in Maine is Sal’s reaction to the loss of her first tooth and how she attempts to make her “lost tooth wish” come true despite physically losing the tooth in a clam-filled mud pile. McCloskey understands the thought processes of a child so well it was no surprise for me to learn that Sal and her younger sister, Jane, are based on McCloskey’s own children.

Along with his excellent storytelling are McCloskey’s impressive charcoal illustrations. The illustrations in One Morning in Maine, in particular a double-page spread of Buck Harbor, are some of his finest work. When combined with the text’s vivid descriptions you can almost smell the sea air and feel the muddy sand on your fingers while Sal digs for clams with her father or the water splashing your face from the sides of their boat.

Another praiseworthy element of One Morning in Maine is the portrayal of Jane and Sal’s relationship as sisters. I am always pleased to find a book with a loving sibling interaction because my children imitate what they read. The final exchange between the two sisters—where Sal steps into the role of taking more responsibility for her younger sister—is the final note of the story, teaching a child that the milestones of life are opportunities for growth and maturity.

Longer than most picture books, I recommend this book for ages 4+. Children around this age also can begin to look forward to their first tooth falling out!

Other delightful books by Robert McCloskey:

Blueberries for Sal

Make Way for Ducklings

Lentil

Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man

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Read more about the life and work of Robert McCloskey here. I was delighted to learn that McCloskey bought live ducks from a local market to use as models for Make Way for Ducklings. He would observe them as they waddled around his studio!

Looking for more book recommendations? Access all of the booklists on the main menu or click here.

 

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