Saturday, June 7, 2014

Reading 1914...

Q. What do Tik-Tok of Oz, A Little Maid of Massahusetts Colony, and Tom Swift and His Photo Telephone have in common?
A. They're all children's books that were published one hundred years ago.

This summer, I thought it'd be interesting (and fun!) to read some books that were published in 1914. Out of the ten books on my list, I decided to start with these three. And I'm glad I did. They're delightful stories. In three quick reads I traveled first to a magic fairyland with a talking mechanical man, a girl named Betsy and her mule, Hank, Quox the Dragon, and Queen Ann of Oogaboo and her army of 17 men who are out to conquer the Nome King himself; then to Province Town and Boston during the Revolutionary War with a daring little maid named Anne Nelson; and lastly to the early twentieth century and the non-stop adventures of a young inventor named Tom Swift.

Seeing what children were reading one hundred years ago was actually pretty entertaining. I'd read Tik-Tok of Oz before, but the other two books were new to me. (Although I have read several other Little Maid books by Alice Turner Curtis.) I thought all three books shared a similar sense of curiosity and adventure. The dialogue, especially in the Tom Swift book, was full of the flavor of 1914, while the main characters in all three stories were bright and engaging. There's also an innocent quality in these books, an old-fashioned optimism and hopefulness that I found kind of refreshing. Not to imply that they're boring; they're not. They're just a bit kinder and gentler that most of today's fiction. In the vernacular of Tom Swift and his chum, Ned, these books are 'the limit'. Needless to say, I enjoyed reading each one. I guess in that respect 1914 and 2014 aren't so different after all.

Happy Reading!

8 comments:

  1. What an original idea, to read children's stories from 1914, lovely post!

    Kind regards,

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    1. Thanks! It was a lot of fun. Glad you stopped by.

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  2. What a great idea for a summer reading project! I'm glad you enjoyed your first three reads. I know I read some of the Oz books when I was a child but I don't think Tik-Tok of Oz was one of them.

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    1. Tik-Tok of Oz is one of the best! I'm excited to start some of my other 1914 books.

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  3. Love this idea! I loved the Oz books. Funny how many characters sounded familiar to me. Great post!

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    1. Thank you! Glad you stopped by.

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  4. Wonderful summer project! I loved all the Oz books when I was young, haven't reread Tik Tok in years, though -- and I've not read either of the other two. Sounds like a really enjoyable reading plan.

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    1. I'm having fun with it...and that's the whole point of reading, isn't it? To have fun? I don't know what I'll do next summer to top it, though.

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