As a child, my favorite books were by author Enid Blyton. I would spend hours pouring over well thumbed copies of my old friends. Unfortunately these days, children’s stories have become rather saccharine. They no longer warn of the dangers of climbing a magic tree and peeking at the pixies or dodging the washer woman’s water. Although the life lessons were told from a very fantastic perspective, it was easy to apply them to real life; I learned not to poke my nose in where it wasn’t wanted and to always look ahead so that I could steer clear of oncoming hazards.
I read Stories for Children and was immediately brought back to that world, where the stories I read helped me learn how to become an adult. The major theme running through the three stories is one of self sacrifice for the greater good, which is a little more serious than anything I learned from good old Enid. From a sentient statue that gives up his gold and jewelled exterior, leaving him grey and abandoned, to help the poor people of his town, to a bird that committed Hara-kiri so that a poet might have a shot with a girl, this book is most suited to an older child or teen who would understand the core messages.
This edition of Stories for Children features some of the most beautiful illustrations I have ever seen in a children’s book. Wilde’s ability to mould the reader’s imagination is partnered perfectly with Robinson’s knack for watercolour. This allows the reader to not only form their own idea of the events as they unfold, but it also promotes a shared experience among readers of this book, as every expertly reproduced image weaves itself into a mental picture.
All in all, I cannot recommend this book enough. Go get it now; read it on your own, read it to your kids, read it to an old person in a home, just read it. It truly is wonderful.
*To order this book, please visit The O’Brien Press Website