From the Publisher
"A wonderful resource for librarians, teachers, and parents as well as for children of all ages." Library Journal
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1988, Perrin brought to light 40 overlooked "classics" in A Reader's Delight. He continues in that vein with 30 short essays, "each about a wonderful but little-known book for children." About half the pieces appeared in the Washington Post; these are not reviews but 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 iteven if they don't have children of the appropriate ages. For instance, having described and summarized Robert Burch's Queenie Peavey (1966), Perrin says, "The book endswell, I guess I'm not going to say how it ends, since my aim is to tempt people to read it." Though not a children's author himself (his four volumes of personal essays about rural life, however, are first-rate), he has children, stepchildren and godchildren, and he uses their experiences to bolster his confident observations and impressions. "One of my two godsons, a boy devoted to facts, read The Rescuers, simply because it was around the house. At first he felt outraged by the liberties Margery Sharp takes, then amused, and finally having read all her books, he became almost proprietary." Perrin has a taste for fantasy books that not all will share ("There are tons of books about imaginary worlds. I love most of them") but 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 (brother of A.E.) Housman's fairy tales and E. Nesbit's The Railway Children. (Nov.)
Perrin (A Reader's Delight, Univ. Pr. of New England, 1988) has written a series of short and delightfully readable essays in which he discusses minor classics of children's literature that have been neglected or ignored of late. The essays touch on both picture and chapter books and on a variety of types from Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen's The Magic School Bus to Ursula Le Guin's fantasy A Wizard of Earthsea. Publication years range from Hawthorne's A Wonderbook for Boys and Girls (1851) to Anne M. Lindbergh's Nick of Time (1994). 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.Katherine K. Koenig, Ellis Sch., Greensburg, Pa.
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.