The Little Bookroom

The Little Bookroom

5.0 1
by Eleanor Farjeon, Edward Ardizzone

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In The Little Bookroom, Eleanor Farjeon mischievously tilts our workaday world to reveal its wonders and follies. Her selection of her favorite stories describes powerful—and sometimes exceedingly silly—monarchs, and commoners who are every bit their match; musicians and dancers who live for aft rather than earthly reward; and a goldfish


In The Little Bookroom, Eleanor Farjeon mischievously tilts our workaday world to reveal its wonders and follies. Her selection of her favorite stories describes powerful—and sometimes exceedingly silly—monarchs, and commoners who are every bit their match; musicians and dancers who live for aft rather than earthly reward; and a goldfish who wishes to “marry the Moon, surpass the Sun, and possess the World.”

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Several favorites return in reissued editions. The New York Review Books is reissuing four children's book classics as part of its new Children's Collection. The Little Bookroom by Eleanor Farjeon, illus. by Edward Ardizzone, contains 27 heartwarming tales, first published in 1955. Many of the stories star standard fairy tale characters such as witches, fairies, princes and precocious young children, but they are also influenced by the urban, Christian and scientific aspects of early- to mid-20th-century life. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Eleanor Farjeon’s stories and poems have been a delight to children for many years, and here she has brought together a new collection of some of her own favorite stories…Storytellers will welcome it." — Library Journal

"A selection of treasures from Eleanor Farjeon’s full store of writing for children. Including some stories which have not appeared before in book form. They make a rich combination: gems for storytelling and reading aloud, for children’s own reading, and a few that may be appreciated most fully by adults." — The Horn Book

"27 heartwarming tales…" — Publisher’s Weekly

"Twenty-seven of Eleanor Farjeon’s stories have been selected by the author herself to make an anthology in the classical fairy tale tradition yet lit with the sparks of reason needed to pry young minds loose from their moorings and to widen reading." — Kirkus Review

Selected as one of 100 Must-Reads (Age 13) by Instructor magazine

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965) won Britain's prestigious Carnegie Medal for this collection of stories, as well as the Hans Christian Andersen Award for the body of her work in children's literature. Yet a reader today could find her very Edwardian fairy tales and fables distinct curiosities. What to make of a boy who spends his days in corn fields channeling an Egyptian pharaoh? Or a princess whose wish for the moon brings her fathers kingdom to the brink of Armageddon? The writing is precious, as is Rumer Godden's afterward description of tea with the octogenarian author in her storybook house and gardens tucked away in London's Hampstead. The stories might be best served read to younger children before they become jaded. Still, the book is an entry into the mindset of a different time, and Farjeon's prefatory authors note on her childhood book-filled home and its one particular nook that named this collection is worth the price of admission. Interested adults should set Farjeon within the milieu of A.S. Byatts The Children's Book (2009). Reviewer: Kathleen Karr

Product Details

New York Review Books
Publication date:
New York Review Children's Collection Series
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Penguin Random House Publisher Services
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File size:
21 MB
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Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965) grew up in England in a house filled with books, and she and her brothers enjoyed reading stories to one another and writing their own. In America, Farjeon’s best-known work may be the hymn “Morning Has Broken,” later recorded by Cat Stevens, but in her native country she is beloved as the author of Elsie Piddock Skips in her Sleep,Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard, and, of course, The Little Bookroom. Farjeon was pleased when The Little Bookroom won the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award and the Carnegie Medal, but she turned down another honor—Dame of the British Empire—explaining that she “did not wish to become different from the milkman.” At her death, the Children’s Book Circle established the Eleanor Farjeon Award in her honor.

Rumer Godden (1907–1998) grew up in India, where her father ran a steamship company. When her husband left her penniless in Calcutta with two daughters to raise, she started to write books to pay off her many debts. She wrote more than sixty books for adults and young adults, including The Doll’s House, Impunity Jane, The Greengage SummerAn Episode of Sparrows and The Mousewife.

Edward Ardizzone (1900-1979) was born in French Indochina (now Vietnam) and moved to England when he was five years old. As an official “War Artist” with the British Army, he chronicled the Blitz in London and the Battle of El Alamein in Egypt. In addition to his illustrations for works by Eleanor Farjeon, Dylan Thomas, and Robert Louis Stevenson, Ardizzone wrote and illustrated his own books, including the celebrated Little Tim series, which was inspired in part by his dreams of escape from boarding school.

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Little Bookroom 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Storywraps More than 1 year ago
This children's classic is a compilation of twenty-seven stories chosen by the author, Eleanor Farjeon, herself.  The book was published by Oxford Univeristy Press in 1955. The illustrations are very detailed and exquisite, done by master artist Edward Ardizzone. The title of the book is derived from the preamble of the author: "In the home of my childhood there was a room we called 'The Bookroom.' True, every room in the house could have been called a bookroom.  Our nurseries upstairs were full of books. Downstairs my father's study was full of them.  They lined the dining-room walls, and overflowed into my mother's sitting-room, and into the bedrooms.  It would have been more natural to live without clothes than without books.  As unnatural not to read as not to eat." Each story is unique in itself and written in a fairy-tale style, including magic, monarchs and menial characters.  Some of the titles include: "The King's Daughter Cries for the Moon," "The Little Dressmaker", and "The Giant and the Mite."   "Of all the rooms in the house, the Little Bookroom was yielded up to books as an untended garden is left to its flowers and weeds, there was no selection or sense of order here. In the dining-room, study, and nursery there was choice and arrangement; but the Little Bookroom gathered to itself a motley crew of strays and vagabonds, outcasts from the ordered shelves below, the overflow of parcels bought wholesale by my father in the sales -rooms. Much trash, and more treasure.  Riff-raff and gentlefolk and noblemen.  A lottery, a lucky dip for a child who had never been forbidden to handle anything between covers." These delightful stories, ripe for storytelling, will be most welcomed when read aloud or by children themselves.  This book was selected as one of 100 Must-Reads (Age 13) by Instructor magazine. Perfect to add to your classic children's book collection.