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James Herriot's Treasury for Children: Warm and Joyful Tales by the Author of All Creatures Great and Small Hardcover – September 1, 1992
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This charming title defines family listening. Herriot’s well-loved tales of his life as a rural British veterinarian hold the timeless qualities of family affection, humor, loyalty, appreciation for nature, and love of animals. The eight short stories were selected especially for youngsters, yet adults will gladly listen along. Narrator extraordinaire Dale lends the perfect avuncular tone; his British dialects accurately reflect the characters’ class and region, and his clarity of expression allows even young listeners to comprehend the delightful British accent. Sprightly musical interludes signal transitions between stories; each is approximately 10 minutes long. The CD consists of only one track, so locating individual stories is somewhat difficult. Be sure to feature this title in holiday displays as “The Christmas Kitten” is especially appealing. Grades K-6. --Mary Burkey --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
“Just the sort of thing you hope will imprint on the memory screen of a young child: fresh, clear, pure, and good.” ―Commonwealth
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ABSOLUTELY NO SPOILERS:
This book is a collection of 8 of James Herriot's (British author and veterinary surgeon) works. Though each of the tales are unique, there is a tie...they all follow the life of "the country vet" as he takes care of various animals. But in this care, he learns more about the animals he treats, as well as the people who own them. At first glance, this can seem mundane and redundant...but each tale features a unique animal with unique circumstances all their own. No tale is the same. This is further built upon as the writer, though writing to children, writes with maturity and respect for his audience. He doesn't "water down" because they are children. No...in fact, he shows that he has respect and assumes the kids to be intelligent, themselves. Perhaps that's part of what drew me in. All in all, these stories are heart warming and filled with the vibrancy of life. They definitely highlight how many times it's the simple things in life that touch us. And I expect to keep this book with me for even more years!
My edition is a hardcover book with cover jacket published by "St. Martin's Press". There are no page numbers, and I'm not really apt to counting them right now (as there are a lot of pages), but I can at least say it's about half an inch thick...just in case that detail will be important to someone. The pages are the smooth, shiny kind of pages (similar to a lot of high school math/science textbooks). Also, their are beautiful illustrations done by Ruth Brown and Peter Barrett on every page.
I have a deep appreciation for beautiful, well-chosen words. Very few books are rightly called "literature," but this book is one of them. Each story is written beautifully and powerfully, obviously from the pen of a great master. The author brings out the details of appearance, background and psyche and the stories resonate with beauty and truth.
I like best that the power of the story comes from the beauty and wonder of the simple and ordinary. So much of our modern literature relies upon shock and caters to the overstimulated, easily-bored personality which needs ever-increasing levels of shock and stimulation to be amused. This book nourishes reflection and the meditation upon the things which are true, honest, just, pure and lovely,
Another delightful thing about this book is the rendering of the artwork. The book is heavily illustrated on each page, and the words are IN the paintings. The visual and verbal components are wedded together in a way that the words are friendly and integral to the story - an absolute necessity for the child to cross the bridge from mechanical reading to reading adventures. The illustrations are masterfully done and very much in keeping with the beauty and power of the language.
The book has sophisticated vocabulary presented in an unobtrusive way. The child learns these words without knowing he has done so.
My seven-year-old son has just finished reading this book, and the joy we both have in listening to him read and explain to me his thoughts and feelings about the stories is priceless (as is his pronunciation of some of the larger words).