I have in my hands this small fabulous book from 1835 titled “The Young Reader”, so well rubbed in all the right ways that it is an artifact of sculptural elegance. The content is as fascinating as it’s current presentation. When I look through early readers such as this one, I don’t have to wonder why certain authorities seem determined to eradicate their existence.
There are currently attempts to pass ridiculous “Nanny State” laws which seek the physical destruction of such wonderful objects and the complete removal of their content from circulation. The value of such a book is not just in the obvious charm of aged paper, a young artist’s scribbles, and whimsical yet technically proficient illustrations. The value is also contained in the artfully chosen collection of stories, poems, and lessons.
The lessons contained therein do not attempt to dumb down or disney-fy (Fie!) certain aspects of reality. There is an odd and effecting mix of grittiness and sentimentality presenting a common sense wisdom. The young readers are addressed with respect for their intelligence, potential, and emotional fortitude. They are assumed to be capable of learning self sufficiency. This particular copy was once owned by Henrietta Henrietta who seemed determined to master the letter “y” with sepia toned ink and a feather pen. She has delightfully decorated a wee treasure containing an eclectic mix of literature, fables, and moral tales which also happen to encourage basic reading and comprehension skills.
These older books have become popular with home schoolers and educators who are fed up with the neurosis-inducing thin skinned political correctness and vapid spiritless mind-numbing nonsense favored by our current system of education. Why would the gatekeepers of culture and so-called “education” feel threatened by this material? There could be lead in the books they so claim. Lead my left butt cheek. This is pure gold.
Whether it is because so few writers of talent have undertaken to furnish good materials for a compilation like this, or whether there is a great intrinsic difficulty in writing for children so as to be instructive without being dull, and simple without being silly, it may not be certain. But it is certain, that but a few writers have been happy in the production of pieces interesting and profitable to very young children. – John Pierpont
My child, what a good thing it is that you can read! A little while ago, you know, you could only read very small words; and you were forced to spell them all, thus c, a, t, cat; d, o, g, dog.
Now you can read pretty stories, with a little help, and by and by, if you take a good deal of pains, you will be able to read them without help.
When you can read in a book, by yourself, it will be easy for you to learn a good many things, and amuse yourself and your friends by reading, and make yourself learned, and good, and happy.
See here I have got a book, that has a good many stories in it, and a good many pictures, too, that will help you to understand the stories better.
The stories, and the verses have been made by some good friends of children. They knew a great deal, and wished to have all the little boys and girls have good books to read in, to make them wiser and better.
The first story in this book is about a foolish little lamb, that would not mind her mother. And the story is meant to show that little children, as well as little lambs, should always mind their parents, and seek their advice.
The full story of The Cats Who Went To Law.
The full story of The Sagacious Goose.