We continue today with reading through The Parents’ Review  Vol 1, No 4. I’m quite excited about today’s entry — it’s not an instructional piece, but rather reader submitted book recommendations!
Reader Submitted Living Book Recommendations, circa 1890
(Not sure what a living book is? Read this post for my explanation)
(Disclosure: This post probably contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.)
The first recommendation is for Uncle Remus books by Joel C. Harris. These are apparently the “original” ones, or perhaps I should say the first ones published. They are available free online at Project Gutenberg
I love that the Parents’ Review points out the objection that the dialect is hard to read. “The answer to this is — Read the tales aloud, and the dialect becomes easy and natural.”
For a wonderful, modern retelling of Uncle Remus, look for Uncle Remus: The Complete Tales by Julius Lester and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
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Seaside and Wayside
The next set of books is recommended by a different reader, and these too are American books.
A set of Reading Books “Seaside and Wayside,” in three volumes, by Julia Wright…is perfect , because its aim is to present facts in simple short Saxon words, and give living teaching; thus I found it evoked a real interest in reading in a child of nine, who simply could not and would not read from the “Primers” generally used. This interest has never flagged, but gone on increasing in the most satisfactory way.
I was delighted to find that two of these three volumes are still in print, but not under their names of Seaside and Wayside.
No, they are now Books 2 and 3 of the Christian Liberty Nature Readers!
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the copyright pages (if it doesn’t show for you, click “View Sample” towards the top)
These two books of the Christian Liberty series were my own daughter’s favorites. After these, she lost interest. I’d thought it was simply changing tastes as she grew older, but now I wonder if it was the change in author. I hadn’t realized before this that the Nature Readers aren’t all written by the same person.
A word though — as you can tell by the series title “Christian Liberty Nature Readers” the author does come from a Christian perspective. They are not “young earth creationist” (at least not these two books), but you may see an occasional reference to “God’s plan”, or wording similar to that. They are not overbearingly Christian and they don’t seek to convert, but it’s something to be aware of if it’s an issue for you.
They are also in public domain and available through both google books and archive.org, as well as two more books in the series.
Sea-side and Way-side
This same reader also recommends Miss West’s Class in Geography
The publisher Yesterday’s Classics publishes two more books recommended by this same Parents’ Review reader —
- Seven Little Sisters Who Live on the Round Ball that Floats in the Air, and
- The Stories Mother Nature Told Her Children, both by Jane Andrews.
I have not read any of these, except for the Christian Liberty Nature Readers, so I can’t vouch for language or attitudes.
But I am so thrilled to know that we still have access to these books that were enjoyed by children generations ago!