Old world faeries and much free kids reading

I do a lot of reading with Nefarious, much of it older books, and her school lectured us on how important reading is (duh) and put a strong emphasis on classic literature rather than modern kids books — and having read a few (Captain Underpants, the Magic Treehouse series, and so on), I do have to admit that they’re in a sorry state, emphasizing cheap laughs and fun over literary value or the long rich tapestry of story telling that readers expected before the age of television and short attention spans.

I wanted to post letting parents — and adults too — know that Project Gutenberg has an amazing selection of copyright-expired children’s literature with a huge variety of options, all completely free. Today we were reading from Andrew Lang‘s last fairy books, The Lilac Fairy Book of 1910. It’s a great collection of classic stories and fairy tales, many of them dark with fairies of the Labyrinth sort rather than the Disney sort. Nefarious has enjoyed it immensely so far, as have I. Below are some of the gorgeous illustrations from the book by Henry Justice Ford (his illustrations in the Arthurian Book of Romance would make especially nice tattoo source material, and are good quality scans).

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6 Comments

  1. Edurus_Fas wrote:

    “the monkey has a ride”? That reminds me of the turtle and the scorpion.

    Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 11:11 am | Permalink
  2. Ania wrote:

    I used to be very much into fairies and elves (this real kind! ;)) and a few books I found interesting (and with decent folk fairy tales in) are Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales, Fairy Mythology by Thomas Keightley and the Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries.

    Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Permalink
  3. Rosie wrote:

    Lang’s Fairy books were definitely amongst my favourite sources of inspiration, both the content and the illustrations coloured my vision of the world as a child… I would love to get hold of a complete Fairy Book collection… and my already considerable appreciation of you continues to rise, Shannon, as you continue to share with Nefarious so many wonderful things… I had the most rotten relationship with my own father and it’s so heart-warming to read about your relationship with Ari.

    Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 5:35 pm | Permalink
  4. JuanKi wrote:

    That monkey riding a shark is a tattoo waiting to happen!

    Monday, September 28, 2009 at 7:49 am | Permalink
  5. Jennivere wrote:

    Are those illustrations or woodcuts? Do you happen to know Shannon? They’re probably illustrations as you’ve said but my heart hopes they’re beautiful woodcuts… Wonderful none the less.

    Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 9:50 pm | Permalink
  6. Jennivere wrote:

    OMG! I’ve been trying to figure out the name of this book FOREVER! My mother named me after Guenevere in The Book of Romance by Andrew Lang. It was her favorite book as a kid and she couldn’t remember the name but that it was a “horse romance novel” hahaha. Now I have to read this. Thank you for being awesome Shannon. And thank you for raising her child awesome.

    Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

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  1. Shannon Larratt is Zentastic › Fairy Chess Experiments on Sunday, October 25, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    […] been playing a couple of variants…How shocking! This was my present to myself. I got a bunch…Old world faeries and much free kids reading I do a lot of reading with Nefarious, much of…Does salting really work? Nefarious and I played […]

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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