by Eleanor Farjeon, originally published 1955
“The Goldfish stopped jumping, because his joy had been damped by doubt. “How can the world be more than I can see?’ he asked the Ship. ‘If I am really in the world, I ought to be able to see it all…'”
It took me a really long time to read this children’s book, a collection of original fairy and other tales by a highly acclaimed British author. Partly it was because after reading one or two of the tales, you couldn’t really read any more in one sitting. It would be like stuffing oneself with chocolate after chocolate. Each tale in this children’s book is a literary work, complete with sometimes difficult language, almost always a moral, and something to think about. Because it took me so long to read, and I read it all the way to the end, I feel compelled to review it, even though admittedly this book is not for everyone.
I think the very best use of this collection of stories would be by a Waldorf or other classroom teacher, even as young as 2nd grade, who wants to read a story to the class at snack time. There are ample stories to choose from, and many would suit older grades, while some very fairy-oriented ones are perfect for young grades.
At home, I think this children’s book would work best as a parent-child reading experience. For one thing, because the author is British, some of the language and terms might need explaining if you are not living in the UK. For another, it’s a nice way to have a short bedtime story together, at any age.
The newest released edition has a lovely essay in the back by the beloved children’s author, Rumor Godden, along with a superb introduction by the author herself. So I recommend getting the hardcover version if at all possible.