Children’s Ebook Saturday
Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know by, Hamilton Wright Mabie
Navigation for this ebook as well as others without active table of contents is simplified by adding your own highlight on the story title or chapter # as it first comes up. I got this version yesterday eventhough my wife has it on her kindle and complained about no table of contents. Last night as I was reading the stories, I highlighted the story title as if first appeared on the screen. After doing this several times, I went to view your notes/highlights, and lo and behold there they were with location # and title, highlight the title and press the 5 way control and you are now at the beginning of the story….. great for re-reading those stories to those grandkids who always want to hear the story again and again and again.
Hope this helps to all who are concerned about “No Active Table of Contents”.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by, Lewis Carroll
So, what’s a 47 year old doing reviewing a classic children’s book? Well, it occurred to me as I was looking through the available books on my Kindle, that many of the free ones (yes I’m quite open to free as an option) that there were many books that I assumed I knew because I had seen movies, seen summarized in some other form or simply because they were cultural icons and “everybody” knows these books.
Many I have indeed read and did read as I was younger. However, now with a Kindle and a commute, it seemed a perfect opportunity to address some of those elements lacking in my basic reading. It was in this spirit that I down loaded Alice’s adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and read through it is a remarkably short period of time. Many of these free books on the Kindle, are in the public domain and have been available in text or PDF files for quite some time. A simple conversion in format is all that is required to make it available. The question I asked as I read the book, is does the experience of reading it in this format take away anything from the experience. Children’s Literature in particular is often about more than just the words on a page. Of course there are often illustrations, the physical book itself takes on dimensions that are bigger than usual. This adds to the experience of a child reading the book by themselves but in particular it adds to the experience of a child being read to who can then sit in a lap or look as the book as presented and share in the experience by learning to read or reinforcing reading skills.
So, for a aging kid who needs something to read to round out his cultural iconic missing links this worked just fine. However, for those seeking to have an experience with their kids in reading a classic piece of literature, I’d not recommend it in that venue.
As to the story itself, there’s little I can say. In some ways, it’s like reading a familiar story but in others it’s amazing how much can be lost or glossed over in the pop-cultural offerings that sprang from it. Reading this piece of classic literature gives you some insight not only into the time it came from, but also into the heart of childhood that is timeless and can be recaptured at least in part, if we’ll pause and exercise our imagination.
4 stars. Absolutely 5 stars as far as the story goes. Because this specifically addresses the Kindle edition, a drop of a star so that any considering reading this to their children from a kindle, consider what might be lost by not obtaining a more traditional copy complete with illustrations and the opportunity to share at a level one notch above what the Kindle offers in this context.
Treasure Island by, Robert Louis Stevenson
Treasure Island is perhaps THE classic pirate’s tale. Robert Louis Stevenson, the author, created a rich story of adventure and treachery on the high seas all seen through the eyes of a boy named Jim Hawkins. Jim starts off as the son of tavern owners in a humble little port village. When an old seaman stays at the tavern, trouble soon follows him in the form of a pirate crew seeking revenge. I will not give away any more specific plot points, but events move forward to a great treasure hunt, treachery, and a surprisingly engaging story for adults as well as children.
Jim Hawkins is the hero of the story and he’s a good lad with a stout heart. Long John Silver is the real star, however, and his character is a fascinating character study in moral ambiguity… or perhaps a study in amoral perfection. The pirate language is good and thick but this edition has plenty of notes to help you decipher some of the references that have become too obscure for today’s readers. The plot moves along very briskly with no wasted scenes.
In short, Treasure Island well deserves its status as a beloved classic. It’s a story of suspense and adventure that can be enjoyed at a child’s level, but has substance for adults as well. I would recommend without reserve it to virtually anyone.
The Jungle Book by, Rudyard Kipling
This unabridged edition includes both Jungle Book and Jungle Book 2. The stories are a wonderful length for read alouds. The Jungle Book is, of course, a classic and not in need of a review; however, if your only exposure to the Jungle Book is Disney, please give this a try. I wanted to commend Sterling Publishers on making a quality, affordable edition of this and other classics. The paper quality was nice, not thin or translucent. The font is also pleasant–not to small or cramped. I know this may seem faint praise, but so many classics collections are very poorly executed. The price is also very agreeable–only slightly more than a paperback.
Gulliver’s Travels (Classic StartsTM) by, Jonathan Swift
I am certain that nearly every person in the Western world (and some beyond it) is familiar with the quintessential scene of “Gulliver’s Travels,” that of a man tied down to the ground and surrounded by tiny humans. I am equally certain however, that only a very small percentage of these people have actually read Jonathan Swift’s satirical novel, first published in 1726. If you consider yourself a serious reader, then “Gulliver’s Travels” is essential reading, one of the many classic novels that you simply *have* to read before you die.
Divided into four parts, “Gulliver’s Travels” is presented as the historical memoirs of Lemuel Gulliver who narrates his strange adventures in undiscovered countries. In doing so, Swift explores and satirises almost every conceivable issue important in both his time and in ours: politics, religion, gender, science, progress, government, family and our basic ideas of defining humanity. As well as this, the novel is full of wonder and humour (some of it bordering on the vulgar!) and Swift’s exploration of imaginary societies and countries is satire at its peak – no one before or since has reached Swift’s mastery of this style.
Some of the more direct parodies concern people and events that have long since passed away, and as such an index or extensive background is required in order to fully understand the allusions that Swift is making. However, a far larger portion of the text discusses issues that are still relevant to today’s readers, especially in the responsibilities of power and the limits to technological/scientific progression.
Part One: “A Voyage to Lilliput” is the most famous segment of the novel, and the context of the afore-mentioned “hostage episode”. After taking leave of his family and country, Gulliver is washed up on the shores of an island inhabited by humanoid beings not more than six inches tall. Though at first suspicious, Gulliver soon earns the trust of the Lilliputian people who enlist their newfound giant in defending them from their enemies on the bordering island of Blefufeu – who likewise are desperate to use the giant in their war against Lilliput. Hmm, a squabble over what is considered a weapon capable of mass destruction. Sound familiar? This ability to place modern day references over older texts and their meanings is what separates literature from books – universal themes and concerns that do not age with time.
In Part Two, Gulliver reaches the polar opposite of Lilliput in “A Voyage to Brobdingnag”, a country of giants where he becomes the helpless victim of a greedy farmer who exploits his diminutive stature to his own advantage. Displayed as a freak of nature, the tiny Gulliver is forced to perform circus tricks till he finally comes into the care of the royal court. Despite being cared for by the gentle farmer’s daughter Grildrig, Gulliver has to survive wasp-attacks, hungry cats and a malicious dwarf before he is finally seized by a hunting bird and set adrift at sea.
One of the most appealing things about Gulliver’s travels in both Lilliput and Brobdingnag is the disorientation he feels on re-entering the company of humans of a normal stature – each time they seem either too small or too big and Gulliver is constantly slouching or tip-toeing in an attempt to reconcile his body to what his mind tells him he should see. The best part is that we share this confusion with him, as we ourselves become accustomed to life in the tiny and giant worlds.
Part Three is the least known of the four parts, and for those who have read the novel, the least popular. I consider this unfortunate as it is more full of variety and wonderment than the other segments, contains some of his sharpest parodies and is my personal favourite `voyage’ in the novel. Titled “A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Gluggdubdrib and Japan”, it is easy to see that it this episode is filled with Swift’s most creative inventions. It is here that Gulliver discovers a floating island, a race of immortals, a university in which they attempt to discover the answers to all things and an island of spirits who summon historical figures up out of the past. With everything from inward-eyed people to Alexander the Great to exploding dogs, Part Three has it all.
Finally, in Part Four, the novel reaches its most critical and thought-provoking statement on humankind in “A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms”. Gulliver reaches a country inhabited by a remarkable race of horses with the intelligence of humans – perhaps with even *more* intelligence than humans. Also living here is a disgusting race of beings known as “Yahoos” – filthy, greedy, slothful, lecherous creatures who embody every vice known to mankind – and who are suspiciously humanoid in shape and form. Gulliver is faced with a crisis of the soul: does he really come from the race of Yahoos? Will the Houyhnhnms accept him as one of their own or as a Yahoo? And how can he ever return home with the devastating wisdom he has gained? Swift presents a fascinating study on the dark side of humanity and the nobility of animals in the climax of the novel that is the most controversial, the most studied and the most memorable.
“Gulliver’s Travels” is not an easy book to read; like all older literary novels it requires the attention and patience of the reader, has complicated and contemporary issues to discuss and a tendency to be a bit long-winded at times. But regardless of this, “Gulliver’s Travels” is a fascinating and enjoyable read and one of those books that just *has* to be read during your lifetime – if not for any other reason but to say that you *have* read it. Though the scanty amount of reviews on this page is disheartening, “Gulliver’s Travels” is a must-read, pure and simple.
I also recommend the Hallmark adaptation of Swift’s novel – NOT to be watched instead of reading the book, but as a surprisingly faithful and intelligent miniseries that accompanies the novel well.
Oliver Twist by, Charles Dickens
This book surprised me, not by the quality of its writing, which one can expect from Charles Dickens, but by the violent, lusty primal quality of the story. This is no dry musty tome, but a vital novel that arouses both passion and intellect. A literal page turner, I found myself having more than one sleepless night when I just couldn’t put it down.
Inside are some of the major characters in the realm of fiction; Fagin and his gang of child thieves, including the Artful Dodger. Nancy, the proverbial hooker with a heart of gold. Master Charles Bates (was this a pun even then?) Bad Bill Sikes, who shows the darker edge to all of this dangerous fun, and the innocent, pure Oliver Twist, who is the very definition of nature over nurture.
A great book, and one that I am glad to have finally read.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by, Mark Twain
Tom Sawyer is one of the most endearing characters in American fiction. This wonderful book deals with all the challenges that any young person faces, and resolves them in exciting and unusual ways.
Like many young people, Tom would rather be having fun than going to school and church. This is always getting him into trouble, from which he finds unusual solutions. One of the great scenes in this book has Tom persuading his friends to help him whitewash a fence by making them think that nothing could be finer than doing his punishment for playing hooky from school. When I first read this story, it opened up my mind to the potential power of persuasion.
Tom also is given up for dead and has the unusual experience of watching his own funeral and hearing what people really thought of him. That’s something we all should be able to do. By imagining what people will say at our funeral, we can help establish the purpose of our own lives. Mark Twain has given us a powerful tool for self-examination in this wonderful sequence.
Tom and Huck Finn also witness a murder, and have to decide how to handle the fact that they were not supposed to be there and their fear of retribution from the murderer, Injun Joe.
Girls are a part of Tom’s life, and Becky Thatcher and he have a remarkable adventure in a cave with Injun Joe. Any young person will remember the excitement of being near someone they cared about alone in this vignette.
Tom stands for the freedom that the American frontier offered to everyone. His aunt Polly represents the civilizing influence of adults and towns. Twain sets up a rewarding novel that makes us rethink the advantages of both freedom and civilization. In this day of the Internet frontier, this story can still provide valuable lessons about listening to our inner selves and acting on what they have to say. Enjoy!
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Tom Sawyer’s Comrade by, Mark Twain
Okay, we all know the plot, so there’s no sense in rehashing it; but this book has generated a great deal of heat and very little light lately, it’s been banned in some school districts and attacked as racist garbage, so this review will address the question: Is “Huckleberry Finn”, in fact, a racist book?
The charge of racism stems from the liberal use of the N word in describing Jim. Some black parents and students have charged that the book is humiliating and demeaning to African-Americans and therefore is unfit to be taught in school. If there has been a racist backlash in the classroom, I think it is the fault of the readers rather than the book.
“Huckleberry Finn” is set in Missouri in the 1830’s and it is true to its time. The narrator is a 13 year old, semi-literate boy who refers to blacks by the N-word because he has never heard them called anything else. He’s been brought up to see blacks as slaves, as property, as something less than human. He gets to know Jim on their flight to freedom (Jim escaping slavery and Huck escaping his drunken, abusive father), and is transformed. Huck realizes that Jim is just as human as he is, a loving father who misses his children, a warm, sensitive, generous, compassionate individual. Huck’s epiphany arrives when he has to make a decision whether or not to rescue Jim when he is captured and held for return to slavery. In the culture he was born into, stealing a slave is the lowest of crimes and the perpetrator is condemned to eternal damnation. By his decision to risk hell to save Jim, he saves his own soul. Huck has risen above his upbringing to see Jim as a friend, a man, and a fellow human being.
Another charge of racism is based on Twain’s supposed stereotyping of Jim. As portrayed by Twain, Jim is hardly the ignorant, shuffling Uncle Tom that was so prevalent in “Gone With the Wind” (a book that abundantly deserves the charge of racism). Jim may be uneducated, but he is nobody’s fool; and his dignity and nobility in the face of adversity is evident throughout the book.
So — is “Huckleberry Finn” a racist book? No. It’s of its time and for its time and ours as well, portraying a black man with sensitivity, dignity, and sympathy. If shallow, ignorant readers see Jim as a caricature and an object of derision, that’s their problem. Hopefully they may mature enough in their lifetime to appreciate this book as one of the greatest classics of American literature.
And for those who might be wondering — this reviewer is black.
Moby Dick: or, the White Whale by, Herman Melville
I’ve been reading it for 6 months. I started over the summer, during an abroad program in Oxford, and I remember sitting outside reading when one of the professors came over, saw what I was reading, and said: “It’s a very strange book, isn’t it?”
Looking back, that might be the best way to describe it. The blurb from D.H. Lawrence on the back cover agrees: Moby Dick “commands a stillness in the soul, an awe…[it is] one of the strangest and most wonderful books in the world.”
Now there are those who will say that the book’s middle is unbearable—with its maddeningly detailed accounts of whaling. Part of me agrees. That was the hardest to get through. But, still, even the most dull subject offers Melville an opportunity to show off his writing chops. He’s a fantastic writer—his text most resembles that of Shakespeare.
And, like one Shakespeare’s characters, Melville sees all the world as a stage. Consider this beautiful passage from the first chapter:
“Though I cannot tell why it was exactly that those stage managers, the Fates, put me down for this shabby part of a whaling voyage, when others were set down for magnifient parts in high tragedies, and short and easy parts in genteel comedies, and jolly parts in farces–though I cannot tell why this was exactly; yet, now that I recall all the circumstances, I think I can see a little into the springs and motives which being cunningly presented to me under various disguises, induced me to set about performing the part I did, besides cajoling me into the delusion that it was a choice resulting from my own unbiased freewill and discriminating judgment.”
The end of “Moby Dick” informs the rest of the book, and in doing so makes rereading it inevitable. It is telling that Moby Dick doesn’t appear until page 494. It is telling, because, the majority of the book is spent in anticipation—in fact, the whole book is anticipation. It’s not unlike sex, actually—delaying gratification to a point of almost sublime anguish. What comes at the book’s end, then, is mental, physical, and spiritual release (as well as fufillment).
The book leaves you with questions both large and small. I was actually most troubled with this question—What happened to Ishmael? No, we learn his fate at the book’s end, but where was he throughout it? We all know how it starts—“Call me Ishmael”—and the book’s first few chapters show him interacting with Queequeg and an innkeeper. But then we lose him onboard the Pequod—we never see him interact with anyone. No one ever addresses him. He seems to witness extremely private events—conferences in the Captain’s quarters, conversations aboard multiple boats, and–what can only be his conjecture–the other characters’ internal dialogue. Is he a phantom? What is he that he isn’t? Somehow I think this question masks a much larger and more important one.
Try “Moby Dick.” Actually, don’t try it—read it. Work at it. Like lifting weights a bit heavier than you’re used to, “Moby Dick” will strengthen your brain muscle. Don’t believe those who hate it, they didn’t read it. They didn’t work at it. Be like Ishmael, who says: “I try all things; I achieve what I can.” Or, more daringly, be like Ahab, whose ambition is his curse, but whose curse propels and writes the book itself.
The Three Musketeers by, Alexandre Dumas
This book was written by French author Alexandre Dumas père in 1844. It’s quite a long story: paperback versions have over 400 pages. Dumas has written two sequels to this book: ‘Twenty years later’ (1845) and ‘The vicomte de Bragelonne’ (1847).
The story is partly based on true facts. The figure D’Artagnan is based on Charles de Bast de Castelmore, count of Artagnan. He was a musketeer in the service of King Louis XIV and died during the siege of Maastricht (The Netherlands) in 1673.
Set in the early 17th century this book tells the story of 4 musketeers: Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D’Artagnan. Musketeers were guards to the King. The book narrates the adventures of these four young men. They get involved in: betrayal, lies, assassinations, true friendship, love, kidnap, fighting, and the conspiracy by Cardinal Richelieu to overthrow the King. In this story the brotherhood between men is portrayed as one of the most important values in life.
This adventure/historical novel is an entertaining story.
The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by Sir James Knowles
I enjoyed this book, or what part of it I read, anyway. It is the rather un-nuanced account of the adventures had by a group of knights (of the Round Table, of course). There is no character development and very little overarching plot to tie the stories together, but there is something oddly compelling about it. There is a great deal of smiting, and rending helms asunder, and rescuing fair maidens in distress (can you imagine???? The evil giant makes ladies actually do manual labor, though they be of high birth!).
You get the general idea pretty quickly, I’ve read half and feel like I’ve gotten all I will get out of this book. It’s free though, so I am glad I checked it out.
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by, Howard Pyle
Who hasn’t heard of Robin Hood and his merry band of outlaws in Sherwood Forest? In this book you meet them all – including the powerful Little John, courageous Will Scarlet, musical Allan a Dale, and sly Friar Tuck. Howard Pyle offers what is probably the most complete and best collection of Robin Hood tales. All the old favorites are included – Little John and his quarter-staff toppling Robin into the water, Robin winning the golden arrow at Nottingham’s archery contest, and the Sheriff being outsmarted in numerous attempts to capture Robin. But these are just the tip of the iceberg – this book is chock-full of entertaining merry adventures.
The medieval setting is portrayed beautifully, including the vast gulf between the upper and lower classes of society, the corruption and greed of the nobility, and the hypocrisy of the medieval Roman Catholic church where religion has degenerated to mere outward rituals. Even the language is somewhat antiquated, which initially seems tedious, but persevere because you will soon find that this an enjoyable and essential addition that heightens the heroic atmosphere of the story. But the medieval setting is not presented without a social commentary – Pyle shows that the unbalanced social structure inevitably resulted in the oppression of the poor and weak. It is left to Robin Hood and his men to take justice into their own hands, and fight nobly for the cause of the downtrodden. Such justice is accomplished in a questionable manner, because the notion of robbing the rich to help the poor implicitly endorses civil disobedience. But the more important theme of seeking justice and maintaining truth and right is in itself a noble one. With Robin Hood, we find ourselves wanting justice, and being prepared to make unselfish sacrifices in order to achieve it. When justice is done, it is actually the greed and corruption of the nobility that has led to its own destruction and ruin.
But the real attraction of this gem are the enthralling exploits of Robin Hood and his band of merry men. Howard Pyle presents Sherwood Forest as a rather glamorous utopian world where feasting and song abound, where it is never winter, and where the ale rarely runs dry. Robin Hood clearly represents a form of hedonism, and in his company there is never a lack of action, adventure, or for that matter – ale. But it’s not the beer that attracts us to Robin Hood, it’s rather his bravado. There is no end to the accomplishments of muscles and mind, as he and his merry band outwit all comers by sheer physical skill in archery, wrestling, swordmanship, and quarter-staff combat, or by outsmarting them with deceit and disguise. To our delight, Robin’s brawn and brains always come out on top at the end.
Howard Pyle’s collection of Robin Hood’s merry adventures is a classic that is constantly entertaining and exciting – one that you’ll want to own and read over and over!
A Journey to the Centre of the Earth by, Jules Verne
This is a classic novel by Jules Verne. In the story, Professor Hardwigg and his nephew Harry discover an ancient parchment by an alchemist named Arne Saknussemm. They travel to Iceland and climb an extinct volcano called Sneffels. With them is the Icelandic hunter Hans. They journey into the center of the earth, in which Harry gets lost. They come upon and ocean and cross it. While they are on the sea they witness a battle of ancient sea monsters. Eventually they are thrown out of a volcano on Stromboli, an island in Italy. This was a wonderful book, but sometimes it went into too much detail. Still, a classic five star book. I don’t see why anyone would give it 4 1/2 stars. It is simply absurd. I recommened this book to anyone with a good imagination.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by, L. Frank Baum
This book, which was old when I was a child, is still a great children’s book. In some ways, I like it better than the famous movie made from it and starring Judy Garland. The movie was great, but time constraints caused them to leave out quite a lot. As a child, I whiled away many an hour reading this particular book. Still, if your child is an indifferent reader, you might have to think about it, since it’s not written in today’s style.
Beauty and the Beast by, unknown
A thousand words cannot begin to describe this book. Marianna Mayer took a story that all readers would be familiar with and without drastically changing it, gave us a breath of fresh air from our childhood. Her prose is outstanding but the true standout is the way she portrays emotion. In too many fairy tales, the characters are cool and aloof and the only human emotion portrayed is love. In this “Beauty and the Beast,” the lucky reader can see the depth of Beauty and the Beast’s despair and hope. As for the illustrations, they are breathtaking! Mercer Mayer’s fairy tale work is incredible and full of detail. Beauty’s rooms are rich and colorful. Beauty is gorgeous and the Beast is a tad scary. Unusual details include the Egyptian motifs scattered thourghout the castle, especially the sphinx off in a distant room. I highly recommend this book, no matter what your age. This book has an heirloom quality to it and the story is as beautiful and as timeless as the mountains outside Beauty’s window.
The Sleeping Beauty by, C.S. Evan
Arthur Rackham not only excelled at creating full color illustrations; he also was an unrivalled master at the art of the silhouette. In this reprinted children’s classic, Rackham lavishly illustrates C.S. Evan’s intricate retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story with one amazing silhouette after another. One of my favorite illustrations when I was a child was a fabulous two-page cross-section of Sleeping Beauty’s palace, including such great details as slumbering cats, doves, scullery maids, the king and queen on their thrones, and of course the princess in her high tower. It never ceases to impress me how much a masterful artist like Rackham could communicate just with beautifully crafted graphic shapes alone- and remember, just because something’s not in color, doesn’t mean it’s not good! Highly recommended! Beauty’s window.
Cinderella by, Henry W. Hewet
This rather over-cute and moralistic version of the ancient Cinderella story was written to emphasize, as many religions do, that virtue should be practiced because it is rewarded. Nine year old Cinderella, whose true name is not revealed, listens to her mother tells her as she is dying to bear everything with patience.
Her father decides to remarry so that his daughter will have a step mother to care for her. He chooses badly and the step mothers with her two daughters mistreat the girl badly. She has to sit among the cinders of the chimney and, therefore, she is called Cinderella or Cinder-Wench.
Nothing more is told about the father. We do not know whether he was still alive during the subsequent episodes. We also do not know how old the girl is in the subsequent episodes. Surely she cannot still be nine.
When the prince arranges a ball and invites everyone, the step sisters have Cinderella prepare cloths for them and give them advice how to act because despite mistreating her, they knew that she had good taste. Cinderella, very virtuously helps her tormentors.
The rest of the tale is well known. Suffice it to add that virtuous Cinderella merited help from the fairy godmother because she treated her well when the fairy came to her disguised as a poor hungry old lady. Cinderella, true to form, later gives her step sisters some of the food that the prince gave her. Also after she married the prince, she arranged good marriages for the two step sisters.
Grimm’s Fairy Stories by, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
This is a greatest-hits grab bag of 25 stories from the Grimm’s Fairy Tales collection, unillustrated, and apparently taken from the 1884 Margaret Hunt translation. Good collection of the highlights, but there are more complete collections (for example, Household Tales by Brothers Grimm) available for free in the kindle store.
The Little Brother and Sister
Hansel and Grethel
Oh, if I could but Shiver!
Dummling and the Three Feathers
Catherine and Frederick
The Valiant Little Tailor
The Golden Goose
The Water of Life
The Six Swans
The Frog Prince
The Travels of Tom Thumb
Snow White and Rose Red
The Three Little Men in the Wood
Little One-eye, Two-Eye, and Three-Eyes
Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen by, Hans Christian Andersen
I have been slowly (so veeeerrry slooooowlllly) working my way through all the Hans Christian Andersen books available for kindle. This is the only one I would suggest reading.
Not only does this version have an active table of contents and lack any of the distracting misplacement of page numbers and illustration names that several of the others have (although it’s still not illustrated), but it contains what appears to be every story ever written by Hans Christian Andersen!
Long stories (The Ice Maiden), short stories (The Princess and the Pea), well-known stories (The Little Mermaid), unknown stories (She was Good for Nothing) and dozens of others are all contained within these e-ink pages!
They are also readable! This is not the case with some of the other HCA books on kindle. The stories are still really boring, occasionally tedious, generally depressing and often religious, but yet I can read them without wanting to scream and pull my hair out as I did with What the Moon Saw: and Other Tales. Instead they are somehow magically more approachable and I can almost remember why I loved Hans Christian Andersen so much as a child (selected stories from, at least).
So if you, like me, are determined to try and re-visit your childhood via fairy tales written by Hans Christian Andersen no matter what, at least take pity on yourself–or pity on your children if you’re trying to read the stories to them–and read this version.
Household Tales by Brothers Grimm by, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
This is an ebook edition of Margaret Hunt’s 1884 translation of the *complete* Brother’s Grimm (i.e., the 211-tale “large edition,” intended for adults and scholars). As such, the language is slightly archaic, and the text itself is lengthy, with the tradeoff that this version does contain the entire collection of stories in the forms the Grimms gave them. Thus,expect the language to be slightly different from what you might remember reading before (“Little Red Riding Hood” is here “Little Red-Cap”) and the stories may contain more crudity, violence, and (occasionally) anti-semitism than the versions most people are familiar with. Similarly, several stories normally expurgated from later editions (i.e., “The Jew Among Thorns”) are present in this collection.
There’s no indexed table of contents, so you’ll have to use the kindle’s “find” feature to jump to specific stories, and there are some typographical/transcription errors, etc.. It also doesn’t appear to contain the Grimm’s or Hunt’s scholarly footnotes. Still, this is a great overall grab for a free kindle ebook, and probably perfect for lunch-break reading and the like.
A little context: The Brothers Grimm were the first to make a significant scholarly attempt to collect the “original” versions of traditional folk tales, as told by ordinary people. They didn’t always adhere perfectly to that dictum — some of the stories they collected from print sources and educated, middle-class tale-tellers, not just the “common folk” — but they were in many ways the first scholarly folklorists. They were also German nationalists, and their collections were intended to help foster a sense of German national identity and “German virtues.”
Because the Grimms did edit their stories somewhat, and because many of these are traditional stories that exist in many versions in many nations, there are often versions that are “earlier” and more primal than the ones here. If you find yourself wanting more, I’d recommend you look up works by Charles Perrault or Andrew Lang; Perrault’s tales pre-date the Grimms’ and are often more violent (i.e., Red Riding Hood gets eaten); Andrew Lang’s post-date the Grimms and are intended for children, but both should be out of copyright and available in free online editions.
The following links are to my previous free Amazon ebook posts. Some of these may not be free any longer, always make sure you check before you click to purchase that it’s still free unless of course you are wanting to purchase the book.
- Free Amazon Ebook Saturday (sharingitforward.wordpress.com)
- Children’s Free Amazon Ebook Saturday May 19th, 2012 (sharingitforward.wordpress.com)
- Free Amazon Ebook Saturday May 19th 2012 (sharingitforward.wordpress.com)
- Free Amazon Ebook (Tuesday) (sharingitforward.wordpress.com)
- Free Amazon Ebook Saturday May 26th 2012 (sharingitforward.wordpress.com)
- Children’s Free Amazon Ebook Saturday, May 26th 2012 (sharingitforward.wordpress.com)