Friday, January 2, 2015

The Little Bookroom - a bookwrap

"A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life."
                                           -John Milton (Areopagitiea)

"Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul.  The soul of the person who wrote it and those who read it and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens."
                                        -Carlos Ruizzafon - The Shadow of the Wind

Unwrapping ...

Let's take the wrapping completely off and see what we discover...

This children's classic is a compilation of twenty-seven stories chosen by the author, Eleanor Farjeon, herself.  The book was published by Oxford Univeristy Press in 1955. The illustrations are very detailed and exquisite, done by master artist Edward Ardizzone. The title of the book is derived from the preamble of the author:

"In the home of my childhood there was a room we called 'The Bookroom.' True, every room in the house could have been called a bookroom.  Our nurseries upstairs were full of books. Downstairs my father's study was full of them.  They lined the dining-room walls, and overflowed into my mother's sitting-room, and into the bedrooms.  It would have been more natural to live without clothes than without books.  As unnatural not to read as not to eat."

Each story is unique in itself and written in a fairy-tale style, including magic, monarchs and menial characters.  Some of the titles include: "The King's Daughter Cries for the Moon," "The Little Dressmaker", and "The Giant and the Mite."  

"Of all the rooms in the house, the Little Bookroom was yielded up to books as an untended garden is left to its flowers and weeds, there was no selection or sense of order here. In the dining-room, study, and nursery there was choice and arrangement; but the Little Bookroom gathered to itself a motley crew of strays and vagabonds, outcasts from the ordered shelves below, the overflow of parcels bought wholesale by my father in the sales -rooms. Much trash, and more treasure.  Riff-raff and gentlefolk and noblemen.  A lottery, a lucky dip for a child who had never been forbidden to handle anything between covers."

These delightful stories, ripe for storytelling, will be most welcomed when read aloud or by children themselves.  This book was selected as one of 100 Must-Reads (Age 13) by Instructor magazine. Perfect to add to your classic children's book collection.

Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965) grew up in England in a house filled with books, and she and her brothers enjoyed reading stories to one another and writing their own. In America, Farjeon’s best-known work may be the hymn “Morning Has Broken,” later recorded by Cat Stevens, but in her native country she is beloved as the author of Elsie Piddock Skips in her SleepMartin Pippin in the Apple Orchard, and, of course, The Little Bookroom. Farjeon was pleased when The Little Bookroom won the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award and the Carnegie Medal, but she turned down another honor—Dame of the British Empire—explaining that she “did not wish to become different from the milkman.” At her death, the Children’s Book Circle established the Eleanor Farjeon Award in her honor.
Rumer Godden (1907–1998) grew up in India, where her father ran a steamship company. When her husband left her penniless in Calcutta with two daughters to raise, she started to write books to pay off her many debts. She wrote more than sixty books for adults and young adults, including The Doll’s House, Impunity Jane, The Greengage SummerAn Episode of Sparrows and The Mousewife.
Edward Ardizzone (1900-1979) was born in French Indochina (now Vietnam) and moved to England when he was five years old. As an official “War Artist” with the British Army, he chronicled the Blitz in London and the Battle of El Alamein in Egypt. In addition to his illustrations for works by Eleanor Farjeon, Dylan Thomas, and Robert Louis Stevenson, Ardizzone wrote and illustrated his own books, including the celebrated Little Tim series, which was inspired in part by his dreams of escape from boarding school.

  1. Edward Jeffrey Irving Ardizzone, CBE, RA was an English artist and creator of children's books. For Tim All Alone, which he wrote and illustrated, Ardizzone won the inaugural Kate Greenaway Medal from ...Wikipedia
  2. BornOctober 16, 1900, Haiphong, Vietnam
AwardsKate Greenaway Medal

                 For a more comprehensive bio with some of his illustrations please visit:

Read on and read always!
It's a wrap.

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