Sunday, December 20, 2015

Two Youth Books Worth a Read

Sandwiched in between Benjamin Franklin by Carl van Doren (an amazing and very long biography...see my Goodreads review) and a couple of other books I have already reviewed here, and a couple I haven't yet, I read these two youth books and enjoyed them very much!

A review I shared a few months ago by Stewart Monckton of a "sequel" to The Wind in the Willows ( The Wild Wood by Jan Needle--see that review HERE) made me realize I had never read The Wind in the Willows! So I set out to remedy that omission!  The original book, by Kenneth Grahame is a charming and wonderfully well-written book that any age can enjoy.  It isn't meant to be an allegory, but there are some lessons one can learn from Toad, Badger and Rat.  I really enjoyed it.  In reading the original I also realized that The Wild Wood would not be a sequel I would be interested in.  In an afterward to the book there was a list of sequels that might be enjoyed:  The Willows in Winter, Toad Triumphant, The Willows and Beyond, and The Willows at Christmas are all by William Horwood.  Of The Wild Wood, by Jan Needle the writer states "In a Marxist twist, Needle retells The Wind in the Willows from the point of view of the working-class weasls, stoats and ferrets that populate the river community.  The proletariat heroes of ....take over Toad's manse and rename it Brotherhood Hall, an event that transcends the simple politics of The Wind in the Willows and demonstrates that there are two sides to every tale."  Not my cup of tea!  I like the simplicity and charm of the original book.  Just thought I'd get you all up to speed on that.



I also read An Independent Spirit, The Tale of Betsy Dowdy and Black Bess by Donna Campbell Smith.  This is a delightful historical novel about the young woman who alerted General Skinner in North Carolina to the burning of Norfolk, Virginia by Lord Dunmore and the moving of British troops toward Currituck, burning homes along their way.  It is a delightful little book based on an actual event of a young woman riding her beloved pony alone and with great haste, completely unknown to her parents or anyone who might have tried to stop her in her mission.  Her bravery should be known to those of us who owe our country to such acts.  But the life of Betsy is fictionalized by necessity because almost nothing is known about her, except for the fact of her lone ride.  The tale would greatly appeal to young women looking for heroines during the Revolution.  It has a horse-loving element and a romance element that often appeal to young women.  I had bought the book to give to our grandson and after reading it realized he would find those aspects of the story un-appealing.  Still, I would recommend it to we adults who wish to know more about many unsung heroes. 


7 comments:

  1. That second book sounds fascinating - what dastardly cads we Brits used to be!! I'm just reading Chrissie Hynde's autobigraphy - I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. But I did want to wish you a very Merry Christmas.

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  2. Hi! Thanks for introducing these books.

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  3. Good picks. I haven't read either one. And nice, thoughtful reviews too!

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  4. The Wind in the Willows is a delightful read! I read it aloud to my kids a couple of times because they liked it too.

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  5. Hi there - I think there are many 'kids' books that should be read by adults - and Wind in the Willows is one of them!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    PS: Thanks for the link!

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  6. I have never read 'A Wind in the Willows' but now I think I have missed something very enjoyable. Add it to my list. Lordy, that thing is getting long.

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  7. Thank you all or your comments!

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