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The Little Bookroom (1955)

par Eleanor Farjeon

Autres auteurs: Edward Ardizzone (Illustrateur)

Autres auteurs: Voir la section autres auteur(e)s.

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498937,802 (4.28)24
Collects twenty-seven of Eleanor Farjeon's stories, which include kings, princesses, servants, a mysterious flower, orphans, enchanted woods, an organ-grinder, giants, a little dressmaker, fairies, and a kindly farmer.
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Cover laminated. ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 19, 2020 |
Ex-lib. 'elementary school library, Ithaca, New York' ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 19, 2020 |
A wonderful mix of stories - fairy tales, realism, fables, humor. All of them remind you that there is good in the world. Eleanor Farjeon could really write, and the illustrations are charming. I especially liked her version of a Cinderella story, in which the heroine rejects the prince and marries the footman instead. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
"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 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."

From the very start of the Author’s Note we are drawn into the world of the bookroom. I could easily quote the whole of Farjeon’s introduction, so exquisitely does it conjure up a storeroom of reading matter, and so perfectly does it fulfil the maxim that a piece can be more than the sum of its parts. The whole — twenty-seven stories succeeding the author’s note — is delightfully complemented by Edward Ardizzone’s line illustrations, a fact the author acknowledged in a 1956 poem “To Ted” included as a introduction: ‘what the child’s eye saw, through you | The ageing eye remembers.’

Twenty-seven stories, some longer, some shorter, grace this collection. Some of the titles deliberately evoke the fairytale tradition, such as ‘The Giant and the Mite’, ‘The Seventh Princess’ or ‘The King’s Daughter Cries for the Moon’. Other tales can be viewed as parables (such as ‘The Lady’s Room’), fables (‘The Goldfish’), or simply enjoyed for their quiet humour (for instance ‘The Clumber Pup’ and ‘Pennyworth’). A couple or so hark back to traditional rhymes or literary pieces, riffing on phrases and names to seemingly ‘explain’ their obscurities (‘Leaving Paradise’ and ‘Pannychis’, for example).

Whatever their form many have a bittersweet melancholy that reminds me of Hans Christian Anderson’s offerings or a Wilde fairytale, though a little gentler perhaps. Several pieces stick in my mind. ‘The Connemara Donkey’ though set in an early 20th-century England speaks of the traditional belief that made-up stories can overcome any antagonism by becoming true, all seen through the eyes and ears of little Danny O’Toole. ‘The Girl Who Kissed the Peach-tree’ feels like a traditional Sicilian tale, one of a handful of tales in this collection that evince a genuine love for growing beautiful things despite a knowledge that life can be hard. Pre-echoes of this appear in the author’s own introduction to The Little Bookroom:

"No servant ever came with duster and broom to polish the dim panes through which the sunlight danced, or sweep from the floor the dust of long-ago. The room would not have been the same without its dust: star-dust, gold-dust, fern-dust, the dust that returns to dust under the earth, and comes up from her lap in the shape of a hyacinth."

The best tales, in my opinion, come towards the end, and somehow evoke a deep-seated yearning for things that stretch back into time. ‘San Fairy Ann’ is a beautiful tale about the love poured into a doll and how it is paralleled in the connections that we make with other humans. ‘The Glass Peacock’ with its themes of compassion and generosity is a perfect Christmas tale, a beautiful little drama contained within a forgotten urban courtyard. And what can I say about ‘And I Dance Mine Own Child’ that does it justice? This treatment of the Patient Griselda tale-type is a worthy descendant all the way from Boccaccio via Chaucer and Thomas Dekker, muting any inherent cruelty but dwelling on a basic humanity that should never go out of fashion. I’m not ashamed to say that I shed a little tear at the end of this, and that it wasn’t because dust had got into my eyes.

"When I crept out of the Little Bookroom with smarting eyes, no wonder that its mottled gold-dust still danced in my brain. its silver cobwebs still clung to the corners of my mind. No wonder that many years later, when I came to write books myself, they were a muddle of fiction and fact and fantasy and truth."

Fiction and fact and fantasy and truth, yes there is that aplenty in these tales. I challenge anybody not to feel better after reading this collection, or not to resolve to act better. These are stories to remember, and reread, and cherish, so that — as with Farjeon’s own little bookroom — we will all be able to truthfully declare that “Seven maids with seven brooms, sweeping for half-a-hundred years, have never managed to clear my mind of its dust …”

https://wp.me/s2oNj1-bookroom ( )
  ed.pendragon | Feb 20, 2018 |
In the Author's Note at the beginning of this book there is a sentence that jumped out at me and made me smile - "It would have been more natural to live without clothes than without books." Short Stories for children and what a lovely selection they are too. As I read I mentally heard myself reading them aloud to children and having fun doing it, they are so well written. My favourite was the story - And I Dance Mine Own Child. One of the longest in the book it told about a 10 year old girl and her 110 year old Gramma. They both had the name Griselda and there is a an old book involved with '....funny print, and wrong spelling.' It's been a long time since I've read a children's book for personal reading and I was unsure whether it would hold my interest enough to read to the end, actually for children, it's quite long at 302 pages. First published in 1955, the year I was born, it's dated for children today being nothing like a Harry Potter novel but I can see the attraction it would have held back in the day. Even today, read with animation to children I could see it still being enjoyed. ( )
1 voter Fliss88 | Jul 8, 2017 |
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» Ajouter d'autres auteur(e)s (4 possibles)

Nom de l'auteur(e)RôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
Eleanor Farjeonauteur(e) principal(e)toutes les éditionscalculé
Ardizzone, EdwardIllustrateurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Godden, RumerPostfaceauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé

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Collects twenty-seven of Eleanor Farjeon's stories, which include kings, princesses, servants, a mysterious flower, orphans, enchanted woods, an organ-grinder, giants, a little dressmaker, fairies, and a kindly farmer.

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