A Childs Delight

Noel Perrin, Author
Noel Perrin, Author Dartmouth Publishing Group $25 (178p) ISBN 978-0-87451-840-5
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Ebook - 178 pages - 978-1-61168-176-5
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In 1988, Perrin brought to light 40 overlooked ""classics"" in A Reader's Delight. He continues in that vein with 30 short essays, ""each about a wonderful but little-known book for children."" About half the pieces appeared in the Washington Post; these are not reviews but persuasive and engaging recommendations from a conversational and witty Dartmouth professor. He is an enthusiast and means to make it hard for readers to be content with just his word for it--even if they don't have children of the appropriate ages. For instance, having described and summarized Robert Burch's Queenie Peavey (1966), Perrin says, ""The book ends--well, I guess I'm not going to say how it ends, since my aim is to tempt people to read it."" Though not a children's author himself (his four volumes of personal essays about rural life, however, are first-rate), he has children, stepchildren and godchildren, and he uses their experiences to bolster his confident observations and impressions. ""One of my two godsons, a boy devoted to facts, read The Rescuers, simply because it was around the house. At first he felt outraged by the liberties Margery Sharp takes, then amused, and finally having read all her books, he became almost proprietary."" Perrin has a taste for fantasy books that not all will share (""There are tons of books about imaginary worlds. I love most of them"") but even masters of children's literature will be grateful for Perrin's attempted resurrections of among others George Dasent's East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon, Laurence (brother of A.E.) Housman's fairy tales and E. Nesbit's The Railway Children. (Nov.)
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