children’s literature

Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels

With imaginative power and biting satire Swift exposes the madness and folly of learning divorced from morals and of reason devoid of feeling and charity—the cold rationalism of the Enlightenment. In “a Voyage to Lilliput” six-inch creatures, not only tiny in size but also petty and small-minded in thought, possess advanced knowledge of mathematics and [...]

Thomas Hughes’ Tom Brown’s School Days

“After all, what would life be like without fighting, I should like to know? From the cradle to the grave, fighting, rightly understood, is the business, the real, highest, honestest business of every son of man. Every one who is worth his salt has his enemies, who must be beaten, be they evil thoughts and [...]

Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio

How does a wooden puppet become a real boy? How does one tame a wild boy full of spirit? When does a boy become a man?  What is the art of educating the young to become refined and civilized?  Pinocchio shows that the wooden puppet—stubborn, slothful, and  thankless--deserves the honor of boyhood when he acquires [...]

The Arabian Nights

“Be sure that you wake me an hour before the dawn, and speak to me in these words: ‘My sister, if you are not asleep, I beg you, before the sun rises, to tell me one of your charming stories.’ Then I shall begin, and I hope by this means to deliver the people from [...]

Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses

“The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” In this one of his most famous lines, Robert Louis Stevenson presents us with a metaphor of the child as a king and the world as his vast domain.  This image of the child king [...]

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s A Wonder Book

“They are three very strange old ladies,” said Quicksilver, laughing. “They have but one eye among them, and only one tooth.  Moreover, you must find them out by starlight, or in the dusk of evening; for they never show themselves by the light either of the sun or moon.” What do the beauty and color [...]

Hilaire Belloc, Cautionary Tales and Bad Child’s Book of Beasts

I remember the first time I read John Senior's Death of Christian Culture. That it ended with a reading list was, well, something of a surprise. There was everyone you would expect—Dickens and Scott, Austen and Wister—and some I had never met. But what struck me the most were the unknown titles from authors I [...]

Peter Rabbit

“Once upon a time, there were four little Rabbits, and their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter...” so begins a series of delightful tales of the lives and adventures of woodland creatures and farm animals.   Penned by Beatrix Potter at the turn of the 20th century, these examples of good imaginative literature have retained [...]

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