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.