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The Blue Fairy Book
By: Andrew Lang

Andrew Lang wrote - or should we say compiled - eight 'Fairy Books'. Each is known by a different color. This is the Blue Fairy Book. In this volume you will find stories ranging from Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, to Why the Sea is Salt. It also includes the story of Goldilocks, Red Ridinghood, Beauty and The Beast as well as many more children's classics. Read this book for yourself, but read it to your kids as well.

The Crimson Fairy Book
By: Andrew Lang

In continuing with Andrew Lang's series of fairy books we pick up with the Crimson Fairy Book. Here you will meet the Lovely Ilonka, who was intended to be the bride of a prince until evil intervened. Or you can read the story of Peter, who received as his wages only a nut. But what was he to do with it? Read this story and you will see. All in all this is a book that you will enjoy, but please don't forget the children, for that's why it was written.

The Lilac Fairy Book
By: Andrew Lang

In continuing with Andrew Lang's series of fairy books we continue with the Liliac Fairy Book. Here you will meet Lars, but because he was so little he was called Little Lasse. He builds a fleet of boats - er ships - from pea pods. You will also meet the girl with one hand. It is a sad and tragic tale with a happy ending. Children will love it. And in between you will find more wonderful stories that Lang has collected. All in all this is a book that you will enjoy, but please don't forget the children, for that's why it was written.

The Orange Fairy Book
By: Andrew Lang

In continuing with Andrew Lang's series of fairy books we continue with the Orange Fairy Book. In this book you will find The Ugly Duckling, a story we all know so well. Here, as well, are found stories such as The Owl and the Eagle - an unlikely pair who set out to find brides. Or the tale of the Stalos and how they were tricked. Thre are many wonderful stories in this volume and you will enjoy them all, but please don't forget the children, for that's why it was written.

The Red Fairy Book
By: Andrew Lang

Here in the Red Fairy Book you will find some familiar characters and stories - and some that are not at all familiar. Stories that you think you know may surprise you, such as the story we all know and love as 'Snow White'. Another is the Ratcatcher. But you will find familiar titles such as Jack and the Beanstalk or Rapunzel. But again, just because the titles are familiar don't assume that you know the stories. You will be surprised. And remember, it is worth reading many of these to your children.

Black Beauty
By: Anna Sewell

In a story that takes place in 19th century England, a gorgeous glossy black colt, who comes to be known as Black Beauty, is born into a life of comfort and kindness. His life is a kind of horsey paradise, until the fortunes of his owners turn...and Black Beauty is sold.
Sold to a cruel owner as a cab horse, Beauty is now treated as so many hapless animals were in his day...he is virtually tortured. He is in constant pain. His knees are sore. He is made to wear a 'check rein,' a device that no longer exists It was a type of rein that forced the horse to keep his head up extremely high at an unnatural angle, the more to look 'elegant.' The pain that this rein inflicts upon Beauty is heartbreaking.
Along the way, Beauty meets other horses, and keeps a lifelong friend, Ginger, who also suffers. Everything comes out alright in the end, in a story that is so tender and yet meaningful at the same time, that it is a shame it is relegated by reputation to the backwaters of so-called 'children's literature.' It was pure muckracking, in the style of the great American muckrakers who came shortly thereafter.
If you have a particularly sensitive or thoughtful child, please warn him or her that Black Beauty is mistreated in the story, but that because of the book, and others like it, such mistreatment of animals no longer exists. And then let your child enjoy the sheer wealth of detail in what really is, in the end, a beautiful story.
Courtesy: Calyndula

The Original Peter Rabbit Books
By: Beatrix Potter

These are the stories that we all thought we knew. But in re-reading them we find that our selective memory has dimmed and things are not as we remember. Whether they are printed on paper, or are stored on our Pocket PC, sometimes it is good to return the stories of our childhood. But as I say with all children's books, don't give the book to your child to read, but read this book to your child. And discuss what you have read. Look at the dedication on the esspc home page and then read these stories to your child. You'll be glad you did.

Five Children and It
By: E. Nesbit

You will be struck by E. Nesbit's boundless imagination, sharp wit, and dead-on dialogue. The heroes of the story are real kids with real personalities - rare even now, much less in a Victorian children's novel. Many scenes will make you laugh even at the upteenth reading, such as when the kids have to think up 'Red Indian' names on the fly and come up with Panther, Squirrel, and Bobs of the Cape Mounted Police. This book is strongly recommended to anyone who enjoys the Harry Potter books, as it offers a similar blend of magic, adventure, humor, and memorable characters
Courtesy: Shaenon K. Garrity
This book was contributed by Kate Halleron.

The Enchanted Castle
By: E. Nesbit

This book is a delight for adults and children alike. The way Nesbit captures the essences of the children down to the very last detail is impressive. The scenes that she presents appeare as though they have come out of a dream. The characters are heartening and the story is so elaboartely woven that you will marvle. You won't be dissappointed.

The Railway children
By: E. Nesbit

The three children, Roberta (Bobbie), Peter and Phyllis are living a lovely, secure life at Edgecomb Villa. Their father returns home after being away on business, two unknown men come to visit him in the evening after supper, and he simply disappears. Neither the reader nor the children know what has happened to him until Bobbie makes a chance discovery and learns the horrible truth.
In the intervening time, their mother, a capable and charming woman, takes her children to live in the country near a railway station, because they must 'play at being poor for a while.' The children handle their new situation with grace and wit, spending hours hanging about the railway station and generally keeping themselves busy, and in the process becoming fast friends with the porter, Perks, and the station master. They also become acquainted with their own old gentleman who lends a hand to help them time and again.

The Son Of Tarzan
By: Edgar Rice Burroughs

If you liked Edgar Rice Burrough's first novel, chances are you'll like the fourth of the series. Tarzan's son finds himself somewhat in his father's shoes, although their situations are reversed; Jack Greystoke starts a civilized English boy before circumstances force him to become an African tree-swinger like his father before him. Although the plot may feel familiar, the adventures are still exciting, and this is one of the last Tarzan books really worth reading, since it still contains continuity from the preceding novels (Burroughs went to a much more discontinuous adventure style later in the series). If only to hear Tarzan lecture his son on the evils of jungle life, Son of Tarzan is worth reading. It's deja vu all over again, but worth the trip.

A Little Princess
By: Frances Hodgson Burnett

This is a story about a different kind of princess than one might imagine; a princess that is an orphan - lonely, cold, hungry and abused. Sara Crewe begins life as the beloved, pampered daughter of a rich man. When he dies a pauper, she is thrown on the non-existent mercy of her small-minded, mercenary boarding school mistress. Stripped of all her belongings but for one set of clothes and a doll, Sara becomes a servant of the household. Hated by the schoolmistress for her independent spirit, Sara becomes a pariah in the household, with only a few secretly loyal friends. But through her inner integrity and strength of will, Sara Crewe maintains the deportment, inner nobility and generous spirit of a 'real' princess.
It is a fabulous story of the triumph of human will, and good over evil.
Courtesy: Margaret Fiore

The Secret Garden
By: Frances Hodgson Burnett

Mistress Mary is quite contrary until she helps her garden grow. Along the way, she manages to cure her sickly cousin Colin, who is every bit as imperious as she. These two are sullen little peas in a pod, closed up in a gloomy old manor on the Yorkshire moors of England, until a locked-up garden captures their imaginations and puts the blush of a wild rose in their cheeks; 'It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place any one could imagine. The high walls which shut it in were covered with the leafless stems of roses which were so thick, that they matted together.... 'No wonder it is still,' Mary whispered. 'I am the first person who has spoken here for ten years.'' As new life sprouts from the earth, Mary and Colin's sour natures begin to sweeten. For anyone who has ever felt afraid to live and love, The Secret Garden's portrayal of reawakening spirits will thrill and rejuvenate. Frances Hodgson Burnett creates characters so strong and distinct, young readers continue to identify with them even 85 years after they were conceived.
Kate Halleron contributed this book.

At The Back Of The North Wind
By: George MacDonald

This is a story of a poor stable boy living in Victorian London in which everyday lives are mysteriously enveloped by a power and a glory, personified here as a beautiful woman known as the North Wind. She visits the small boy, Diamond, and takes him with her on her journeys, teaching him about herself. Through the eyes of an innocent and yet perceptive child, MacDonald explores North Wind as a way of exploring the place of death in our lives. He looks squarely at social injustice--he knew poverty and the poor first hand--and yet also sees that the deepest need we have is for love and forgiveness, which are rooted in eternity.
This book was contributed by Kate Halleron.

The Princess and Curdie
By: George MacDonald

This is the sequel to The Princess and the Goblin and takesplace about a year after the happenings with the goblins. Curdie hasgone back to his life as a miner and is slowing becoming nitwitted.One day he shoots a bird relizes that the bird probably belonged tothe princess's great-great grandmother (who has a major role in the first book). He starts to feel remorse and rushes to find the grandmother, they have a long chat. He learns that doing nothing wrong and nothing good is wrong in itself. The Grandmother sends him on a mission to help the King from an unknown danger. It is a great book and has a lot of good values in it, but is still adventureous and appealing to children.
This book was contributed by Kate Halleron.

Andersen's Fairy Tales
By: Hans Christiabn Andersen

Here are the stories that began my adventures in reading. They are still entertaining today for adults and children alike. Relive and remember these wonderful tales and fables from your childhood, or introduce them to a child you love.

The Tinder Box and Other Stories
By: Hans Christian Andersen

I remember reading The Tinder Box as a child, as well as the rest of these stories. They still delight both adult and child.

Otto of the Silver Hand
By: Howard Pyle

This book is as captivating and beautiful as a knight in shining armor tale can be. It's a tale of love, courage, good and evil. The love begins between husband and wife with as much fervor and honesty. Conrad, the baron of the Castle Drakenhausen whose love is so great for the Baroness Matilda, takes their son Otto to the 'White Cross on the Hill' soon after his birth. There his good, holy and wise Uncle Otto (Abbot Otto) resides. You see, Baroness Matilda has died at Otto's birth and Baron Conrad knows his cold castle and his bitter feudal world are not suited for the raising of his child. Young Otto developes a pure, simple and docile attitude in the 12 years he lives at the monastery. His father comes to reclaim him at this point and here the story begins to unfold.
This is so beautifully written! It's wonderfully suspenceful (how Otto escapes from his cold, dark dungeon when he is near death; how his father gives his life in the end for that of his son and the 'faithful few' who remained with him till the bitter end.
The spirit of great love from a man to his wife, a father to his son was refreshing. The story was indeed uplifting to the mind, heart and soul. What better tale to tell...to teach love in its sometimes harsh reality!! Death because of love!!
This book is too beautiful to miss!!

Peter Pan
By: J.M. Barrie

One night, Wendy Darling and her two younger brothers are in the nursery. Suddenly, a wispy figure flies in through the window -- it is Peter Pan. Peter spins a tale about his home, Never Never Land, a far-away world, filled with pirates, fairies, and mermaids. Intrigued and excited, the children join Peter and his tribe of Lost Boys and are off to Never Never Land. They begin an adventure that soon brings them face to face with Peter's arch-enemy, the evil Captain Hook. Hook plots to kill Peter and he captures Wendy. Will the Darling children be able to return to their home?

Irish Fairy Tales
By: James Stephens

Stephens presents a voice, a carefully chosen, well modulated voice, to present the web of tales which comprise the Irish tradition. As in Crock of Gold, he does this with beautiful natural imagery, and references to the bays and rivers and isles of Ireland. Moreover, unlike much of literature considered adolescent fare,he encompasses adult virtues and vices including lust, envy and pride. This book is written with a compelling sense of humor, aimed not at the cute, but at the failings which each of us possess. it is a book worthy of reading by a person of any age.

By: Johanna Spyri

This book is a true classic. It's easy and fun to read for children as well as for adults. The way Heidi finds her happiness is a lesson in faith and the power of prayer without being preachy in any way. Having the blues? Curl up on the couch with this book and you'll feel better soon.
This book is about a little girl named Heidi who is sent to live with a rich family in a city. Heidi befriends her adopted sister, Clara, who is confinded to a wheel chair. But, Heidi misses her grandfatherand her mountain home.

This book was contributed by Kate Halleron.

The King of the Golden River
By: John Ruskin

This is a wonderful fable of good and evil. It is a short work, but an excellent introduction to John Ruskin.

Gullivers Travels
By: Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift, - satirist, churchman, reformer, - is perhaps one of the greatest satirists of all time. 'Gulliver's Travels', his masterpiece, demonstrates the full breadth of his ingenious and far-sighted critique of almost the entire social order of his time, which included the Enlightenment belief in progress, reason and science, as well as the system of government. Critics have gone so far as to interpret him as a libertarian, an anarchist, even a nihilist, as he tended to see how even the highest ideals of civilisation, its most august institutions, were actually the products of barabarism. Like many men of his generation, including Alexander Pope, Swift believed in the 'retournons du nature', though nature was not seen as equivalent to the unchaining of passion and the blind gratification of appetite, but as something that was achieved through effort and discipline. The humour is bawdy and sometimes coarse, no less than that of Rabelais, such as the scene in Lilliput in which the giant Gulliver puts out the fire in the queen's tiny palace by urinating on it. Altogether, the book is an amusing and marvellous satire. Religion, however, is the one topic that Swift, being an ecclesiastic, refrains from subjecting to criticism.

This book was contributed by Kate Halleron.

Five Weeks In A Balloon
By: Jules Verne

The debut novel from Jules Verne, originally published in 1870. This is the work that established his reputation. Originally planned for a children's magazine, this story about traveling in balloons across Africa resonates in Verne's later works and contains all his fondly remembered themes.

Rebecca Of Sunnybrook Farm
By: Kate Douglas Wiggin

Rebecca comes from a large, loving, but poor family. In hopes of providing Rebecca with a better future, her parents send her to live with two cold, stern aunts. Although the girl finds the new atmosphere difficult to get accustomed to, the plucky girl ultimately triumphs, wedding the wealthiest man in town.

Wind In the Willows
By: Kenneth Grahame

'Mole thought his happiness was complete when, as he meandered aimlessly along, suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river. Never in his life had he seen a river before--this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free, and were caught and held again.' Such is the cautious, agreeable Mole's first introduction to the river and the Life Adventurous. Emerging from his home at Mole End one spring, his whole world changes when he hooks up with the good-natured, boat-loving Water Rat, the boastful Toad of Toad Hall, the society- hating Badger who lives in the frightening Wild Wood, and countless other mostly well-meaning creatures.

One More Road To Follow
By: Kenneth Mattern

Here are two stories that I wrote years ago when I was the pastor of a church. At Christmas rather than preach I told stories about the birth of Christ. Stories that children would enjoy as well as their parents. These two are my favorites.
One More Road To Follow tells of three men who have one more job to do for God. I'll leave it for you to guess what it is.
Many of my stories and plays take place at or near the Crippled Camel Inn, the fictitious place where Jesus was born. This is a story that took place there nearly two thousand years ago.

Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
By: L. Frank Baum

In Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz we see Dorothy and the Wizard reunite, of course, but there are some interesting things going on. The Wizard has become a grand character; Baum has thrown his own nature into him and has made him real to us. The Wizard is now a resourceful, sometimes devious, sardonic, yet compassionate man. The story delves into the bizarre with the Glass City and its vegetable people (and their gruesome demise). The Gargoyles are quite disturbing in their emotionally hollow, wooden world. The Braided Man of Pyramid Mountain provides dry humor (here we see Baum's love of puns). Esentially this is one of the more original works of Baum, with quixotic new characters, and further development of those we already knew. Perhaps Ozma comes into her own in this novel; she is what a queen should be, loyal to her subjects, but not above the law; she is regal, kind yet firm, passionate and loving. Baum has created a fearsome yet beautiful per! sonage in Ozma. This is a great read; recommended non-Ozophiles so that the MGM movie can be challenged, and the true Oz can be appreciated in its majesty of fantasy, humor, horror, and splendor.

Alice's Adventures In Wonderland
By: Lewis Carroll

This perennial favorite of young and old alike is back once again. Carrolls stories entertain children but can also give pause to think to adults as well. So welcome back to Wonderland!

Through the Looking-Glass
By: Lewis Carroll

Alice's adventures continue is this tale of fantasy and adventure. Carrolls stories entertain children but can also give pause to think to adults as well. So welcome back to Wonderland! Beware the Jabberwok!

Little Men
By: Louisa May Alcott

This book follows the adventures of Jo March and her husband Professor Bhaer as they try to make their school for boys a happy, comfortable, and stimulating place. Kate Halleron contributed this book.

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn
By: Mark Twain

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn is really a continuation of the telling of the story of Tom Sawyer, save it is told from the point of view of Huck Finn, who if possible, is from an even lower status than Tom himself. Here is a story of adventure and at the same time raw courage against the reality of slavery in the deep American South as it comes head to head with friendship.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
By: Mark Twain

Does anybody need an introduction to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer? One of the reasons I converted this book was so that I could read it once again. This is the story of a Mississippi boy in the mid 1800's, as he discovers the world for himself. Here there is laughter, danger, boyhood pranks and fun. At the same time this is the telling tale of 'life as it was' in that ear, and some of what Mark Twain tells us is not as we find life today. That's why he tells it to us, in hopes that he, and we, can make a difference.

The Prince and the Pauper
By: Mark Twain

Twain's classic story has been told so many times in television, movie and stage. But it is good to read the original from which all sprang. Join Tom, from Offal Court, as he trades places with a prince. And see the consequences.

The Black Arrow
By: Robert Louis Stevenson

War, treachery, disguise, secret passages, shipwrecks, damsels in distress -- an amazing amount gets packed into this not-very-long book. Great fun, but the pseudo-fifteenth-century dialog ('Sirs, this knave arrow likes me not. But it importeth rather to take counsel.') will prove an unfortunate obstacle to the very readers who would otherwise enjoy the story most, the young.
The Black Arrow seems to me to be one of the most underrated books I have ever seen. It is one of the very few works of Stevenson and probably one of the best. It is an excellent mix of romance, drama and action, and is guaranteed to hold your interest. It is Stevensons only work in the field of Romance/Drama and is a work to rival such classics as The Three Musketeers and The Man in the Iron Mask. The language has a slight archaic ring to it which is, after reading the foreword by Stevenson, realized to be quite deliberate. A must read.

By: Rudyard Kipling

Kim is probably one of the best books ever written on India and certainly within the league of E.M.Forster and Paul Scott.
This little treasure describes India with a love and power of observation that is absolutely captivating and charming at the same time. Kim is a rogue like Huck Finn and Oliver Twist. He is the man for all opportunities and is called the 'Friend of all Mankind'. He is neither Hindu nor Muslim, he is neither Buddhist nor Christian. Given his background as the orphan son of a Irish military man and a local girl he is a little bit of everything.
In Kim Kipling personifies all the good of Inida while playing down the contrasts, in particular the religious one; he shows us what India would have been like in an ideal situation of mutual tolerance.
Apart from these philosophical considerations, Kim is simply a very well written book. Every passage betrays Kiplings background as a poet and sometimes passages really need to be reread for their beauty. His observations are striking and one realises from time to time that it is not the writers imagination about a period long gone; he was actually part of that period. One thing Kim is not: a childrens book. Like Siddharta ,a child may be the main character, but the book is far to philosophical and aimed observing intricate human behaviour to be of much interest to children.
This book was contributed by Kate Halleron.

The Jungle Book
By: Rudyard Kipling

Here are the stories of Mowgli and his friends in the jungle. It will bring back memories, and remind you of the real stories behind the classic movie.

By: Sir Walter Scott

The epitome of the chivalric novel, Ivanhoe sweeps readers into Medieval England and the lives of a memorable cast of characters. Ivanhoe, a trusted ally of Richard-the-Lion-Hearted, returns from the Crusades to reclaim the inheritance his father denied him. Rebecca, a vibrant, beautiful Jewish woman is defended by Ivanhoe against a charge of witchcraft--but it is Lady Rowena who is Ivanhoe's true love. The wicked Prince John plots to usurp England's throne, but two of the most popular heroes in all of English literature, Richard-the-Lion-Hearted and the well-loved famous outlaw, Robin Hood, team up to defeat the Normans and reagain the castle. The success of this novel lies with Scott's skillful blend of historic reality, chivalric romance, and high adventure.

Grimms Fairy Tales
By: The Brothers Grimm

One of the things that struck me as I read these stories is how short some of our favorite fairy tales really are. The other thing that struck me with wonder is how Disney could possibly take these delightful little tales and turn them into feature length movies. The story of the 'Little Mermaid' for example is only a few paragraphs long. Cinderella isn't that much longer.
Some of these stories are absolutely delightful in their irony or in the way a person tricks another in a humorous way. The story of 'Ali And The Sultan's Saddle' immediately springs to mind. I had to laugh as his fast thinking and his humor. Some of these stories have morals that we sometimes seem to forget exist; and all are educational and fun in one way or another.
Nowadays it isn't popular to read stories by the Brothers Grimm as they are politically incorrect. but perhaps we need to take a step back to examine ourselves and how serious we try to make the world and all things in it. There is still a lot of room for the stories of Ali Baba, the Fox and the Elephant, Goldilocks and all the rest. So take the time to read this book and to remember your own childhood and sense of wonder. Then read them to your children. Don't tell your children to read them, but read these stories to them yourself. Both your kids and you will be glad that you did.

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Last Updated 1/16/2016

This web site is dedicated to Mr. Maltie Sassaman, my fourth grade teacher. When I entered his class I could not read. When I left his class at the end of the school year I was reading at a sixth grade level and I haven't stopped reading since. Were it not for Mr. Sassaman, this page would not exist.