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peals to the ordinary man whose garden is like a brick yard. But it is when he comes to some new varieties of delphinium, which he calls "Hollyhock Larkspurs", that he rises to eloquence. If the first of the following extracts does not seem to you a piece of generous appreciation which might with profit to us all be studied by reviewers and dramatic critics, what about the second? The first is:

SEALANDIA. If flowers can be judged by the same standards as feminine beauty, it is to this exquisite representative of the Larkspur family that the prize should go. Words could never be found to faithfully portray its delicate loveliness or perfect grace of form. The broad spikes tapering towards the top are sheathed with parma violet flowers, tinted sky blue. In the centre of each petal is a small dark eye. A valuable late-flowering variety.

The second reads as follows:

WINSOME. Award of Merit, R. H. S. In an effort to describe the indescribably fine colour of this variety, the gardening press has printed the following: "A perfectly single flower of Reckitt's blue colour, relieved by small spots of heliotrope towards the tips of the petals. The spike is tall and shapely." As a matter of fact that is but the uninspired version of a tired reporter who has struggled through a stifling tent in an endeavour to describe a host of flowers seen in an artificial setting. In the garden the plant presents a different aspect. The flowers are of a vivid "live" colour which challenges comparison with anything in heaven or earth. It is a changeful colour; warm and pulsating in the full light of day; misty and dreamy in the pale of evening. Winsome is both its name and its character. If only our literary commendations were written in so free and so convinced a style, there would be no need for publishers' advertisements. Once again, reviews would really sell books, as they are supposed to have done in older days. What the nurseryman

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From "The Panjandrum Picture Book" by Randolph Caldecott (Frederick Warne)


By Anne Carroll Moore

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timeless and ageless in its appeal, and informative, belonging to the social period for which the books are written.

To miss the joy of reading and rereading outstanding books of the first class in childhood means irreparable loss, for no grown up ever brings to story or poem what a child brings to his first reading. To miss books of the second class is a matter of minor importance, since their essential content is as bound to reappear at regular intervals as are the hardy annuals and perennials of a well tended New England garden.

Now that we are assured that all departments of knowledge are going to be preserved in outlines of generous proportions for the benefit of the fathers and mothers, the uncles and aunts, the teachers and lecturers who have been accustomed to buy children's

books with the idea of forestalling any possible yearning after the unknown, we may well pause at the end of the first quarter of the twentieth century to ask: How fares it now with the imagination? Who is concerned with its need? Is it being better nourished and cherished, more wisely exercised in our own time, or is it being taken for granted, or forcibly fed with theoretical and commonplace substitutes for the dreams and visions of childhood?

Clear memory of childhood is as rare as it is un-selfconscious. That it cannot be recovered by the questionnaire method has been fully demonstrated in recent novels no less than in the textbooks on child study of an earlier day. It was indeed the futility of the child study methods of the 1890's as applied to children's reading, and a keen interest in eighteenth century literature for its own sake, which drove me backward

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and forward over the history of the writing, illustrating, and publishing of children's books until it took hold on my mind as a subject of fascinating interest and limitless possibilities. I found myself continually wondering why it was not given its true place in the curriculum of the colleges and universities from which so many reviewers and publishers have been recruited.

I had, it may be noted, from the first a different type of interest than the collector brings to this subject, for I was learning about the lives the children lived in different centuries as well as about their books, learning a great many things which I have found pointedly suggestive in personal relationships with present day parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and booksellers. Moreover, I believe it was much reading of the old children's books in contrast to the new that developed and strengthened my powers of appraisal. I keenly enjoyed both text and pictures and I discovered that certain stories had not lost their hold upon children; lively incident, dramatic climax, even when obviously employed for moral ends, clarity of meaning, and sincere interest in children may take to stilts but they never fail to reach a goal in any century.

It was reassuring to find that I had been exploring my chosen field in good company. I well remember the delight with which I welcomed E. V. Lucas's "Old Fashioned Tales" (1905) and "Forgotten Tales of Long Ago" (1906) to the story-book shelves of a children's library. Charming books they were, and still are, for the children have not allowed them to go out of print. Francis Bedford did not merely decorate them in the spirit of their time, his illustrations are a direct challenge to the children of another age to read


genuinely interesting stories of children strangely like themselves.

Story writers and reviewers might well read them also, and, going behind Mr. Lucas's illuminating introductory comments to his volumes with their modern drawings, search for copies of Andrew Tuer's "Pages and Pictures from Forgotten Children's Books" and "Stories from Old Fashioned Children's Books", with their wealth of fascinating cuts and facsimiles of old title pages. These books are the most satisfactory substitute I know for the freedom of such a fine collection of early children's books as Wilbur Macy Stone possesses. At the time of their publication (18991900) they fairly represented Mr. Tuer's own collection on the subject. But one does not need to be a collector to find them interesting and amusing today. I have made such constant use of both books in speaking upon the general subject of children's books to parents, as well as to students, that I feel very strongly that they should be taken from the limbo of out-of-print and made available for the wider circulation they might now have.

The recent publication of Florence V. Barry's "A Century of Children's Books" is a strong bit of evidence of what may come of making children's books a subject of study during a university course. Miss Barry began her book while a student in Sir Walter Raleigh's class, receiving much encouragement from his interest in the subject. The chief value of her contribution lies in her own fresh discovery of the fact that the history of children's books holds a record of childhood, and in the spontaneity with which she links up her quotations and conclusions with modern associations, both human and literary. She brings her "Century" to a close with fine appreciation of the dramatic realism of Maria Edgeworth

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Copper plate illustration from "Youthful Recreations" (J. and J. Crukshank, Philadelphia, 1800) first hand knowledge of real children and her art as a novelist that keep Miss Edgeworth's stories alive, not her theories or her disbelief in the supernatural. The supernatural has a way of surviving from age to age.

"If she never understood the 'fairy way of writing'," says Miss Barry, "it was because she had built a school upon the fairy circles of her village green. Her children were so happy in and about the village that they never discovered an enchanted wood. They planted trees instead of climbing them; they knew all the roads to Market, but nobody showed them the way to Fairyland."

Schools are still being built on the fairy circles of village greens and city streets and some of them have voted the fairies down in the twentieth century - not the children, oh dear no! only those grown ups who fear the unknown and do not yet know Christopher Robin, Ernest Shepard, and "Hoo".

Much browsing among early children's books, companioned by both children and fairies, leaves one with quite another set of fears-of being dull or commonplace, of boring or being bored, of missing the point, of being earnest or facetious, condescending, theoretical, academic, or artificial.

One sees so clearly the inevitable result of being any of these things your work simply isn't read any more. How good it must be, then, for a reviewer of children's books- of any books to rouse such a set of fears in time to scare the writers and the artists, and even the publishers and booksellers of his own day, into a study of the survival of the fittest among children's books since "Goody Two Shoes".

"But we haven't time for anything like that. Leave such investigations to the specialists in education. The publication of children's books, although an attractive item, is a very uncertain one in our business. How can they be made to pay even the cost of production?" It was the publisher of the '90's and early 1900's who argued thus the publisher who regarded librarians as theoretical folk with strong personal prejudices governing the selection of books for their readers. It was before librarians and publishers began really to know each other and to vision a public as yet unreached by either.

That a librarian even in the '80's, the golden age of American children's books,

could read from a child's standpoint and act with the courage of her own conviction, there is a fine bit of evidence in a list of books with an introduction and annotations by Caroline Hewins, librarian of the Hartford Public LiThis list was published for the

brary. brary. use of American libraries in 1882. It was out of print before my time, but I look upon the discovery of a stray copy of it as a milestone on the long path leading up to the appraisal of children's books.

Miss Hewins dared place "Tom Sawyer" on her list and leave it there. The unsuitability of the book for the reading of boys and girls had been pointed out by such literary mentors of the day as the New York "Evening Post". There was a violent prejudice against it in many libraries. But Miss Hewins heeded not. She merely continued to place "Tom Sawyer" on lists distinguished for their selective judgment and genuine literary association until the book became known for what it is.

From her first list and from John F. Sargent's more comprehensive "Reading for the Young", I gained a fair outlook over the field of children's books in the nineteenth century; and when I began to supervise the work with children in the New York Public Library early in the present century I had the unusual experience of seeing a fair proportion of all the children's books I had ever heard condemned, circulating side by side with the classics, old and


"What are you doing about the selection of children's books?" asked Dr. John S. Billings, the late director of the New York Public Library. "I am letting everybody's favorites circulate until they wear out", was my reply. "There are more than six thousand titles of story books alone,

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