The History of Gutta-Percha Willie (Barnes & Noble Digital Library) by George MacDonald
In this 1873 short novel for children—by an author who influenced Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and many other fantasy writers—young Willie’s wise father, a doctor, lets his son learn by himself how to first work with his hands, then his mind. His resulting benefit Willie, his family, and the world at large.
George MacDonald (1824-1905) was a Scottish novelist, poet, and Christian minister whose fairy tales and fantasies inspired such later luminaries as J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, and Neil Gaiman. His best-remembered works include At the Back of the North Wind (1871), The Princess and the Goblin (1872), and Lilith (1895).