From the Publisher
“A series of short and delightfully readable essays in which [Perrin] discusses minor classics of children's literature that have been neglected or ignored of late . . . Each essay provides plot summary and insightful commentary, and a bibliography offers information on locating the books. A wonderful resource for librarians, teachers, and parents as well as for children of all ages; recommended for all libraries.” —Library Journal
“Persuasive and engaging recommendations from a conversational and witty Dartmouth professor. He is an enthusiast and means to make it hard for readers to be content with just his word for it -- even if they don't have children of the appropriate ages . . . Even masters of children's literature will be grateful for Perrin's attempted resurrections of among others George Dasent's East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon, Laurence Housman's fairy tales and E. Nesbit's The Railway Children.” —Publishers Weekly
“In this enchanting sequel to A Reader's Delight . . . Perrin turns his attention to the world of children's literature . . . Although librarians and booksellers may be familiar with many of the authors and titles, they will welcome the opportunity to provide this eclectic list to parents eager to acquaint their children with a diverse range of literary gems.”—Booklist
Perrin (First Person Rural, 1990, etc.) follows up his popular collection A Reader's Delight with a similar garland of essays on underappreciated children's books.
Perrin is one of those rare grown-up literati who appreciate the joys and splendors that are peculiar to books for children, and this volume collects his appreciations of 30 such works. Most of those under discussion were written and published in the 20th century, which Perrin believes has been the golden age of children's literature. He has chosen works that he calls "wonderful but little-known," although it is hard to imagine that The Story of Doctor Doolittle, The Borrowers, The Rescuers, The Railway Children, and Watership Down (to name but three of his choices) qualify as "little-known." On the other hand, P.L. Travers's I Go By Land, I Go By Sea, Virginia Hamilton's The Planet of Junior Brown, and Robert C. O'Brien's Z for Zachariah, among others, sound like real finds. Perrin's great strength here, as in the previous book, is his ability to communicate enthusiasm in an intelligent, thoughtful way. He playfully and intently assumes a child's consciousness (he has two children and four stepchildren, so he undoubtedly has had ample practice), allowing readers to see what a child might value in the books he extols. He is also skilled in highlighting the themes that draw most of the works together, particularly a focus on the battle of the small and powerless against the big and strong, an understandable concern for children. Occasionally, he gets carried away with his own whimsy, and taken in large doses, the book is a bit twee, certainly not a problem afflicting A Reader's Delight.
Despite the periodic lapse into cuteness, this is quite a delight itself and should send parents and kids alike scurrying to library shelves in search of Perrin's picks.