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Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages Paperback – October 2, 2002
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Bloom is the author of more than 20 other books, including another tome on the art of reading, How to Read and Why. (All ages, of course) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
My eleven-year-old daughter and I have a tradition of reading out loud every night. We have tried most of the published read aloud books. We have read stories, poem, and novels. We have read ancient myths, contemporary fiction, and even “The Guiness Book of World Records”. We started Bloom’s book at the beginning with “The Human Seasons” by John Keats, and have continued forward. These are stories and poems to read and reread. Some will be committed to memory.
Most of the stories and poems in Bloom’s book were written in the 19th century or earlier. (No one has to be paid for a copyright.) Some of the readings, such as “The Owl and the Pussycat” by Edward Lear, and Lewis Carroll’s “The Walrus and the Carpenter” are easily found elsewhere. Many selections, such as, “Reflections” by Lafcadio Hearn and “The Recessional” by Saki, though, are totally new to me. Most can be read aloud in a few minutes, but a few require a longer commitment of time. These are perfect for bedtime.
Our children can find the Harry Potter books and “The Guiness Book of World Records” without the help of their parents and teachers. But, they will seldom find Stephen Crane, and Rudyard Kipling on their own. If you want your children to be able to read and understand the great writers in the English language, Shakespeare, Henry James and Charles Dickens, then they need to have an ear for the cadence of the language as used in earlier times, as well as a large vocabulary. Bloom’s book is a great start.
If you are going to own only one such collection of poems and stories, let it be this one. I highly recommend this book.
This book is like that. Its arrangement (by the seasons of the year) might frustrate a linear mind but is nice for browsing. It contains selections for the quite young (my 3-year-old enjoyed Lear's "The Jumblies" and Kipling's "The Elephant's Child") as well as for rather precocious pre-teens (Hardy's "the Three Strangers" comes to mind). This makes the book worth having in hardback. Themes of love and death, contemplation and fancy, adventure and mystery are sounded by many of the most capable and sensitive authors of the West. The writing is excellent throughout, and there's a refreshing absence of condescension and pedantry.
As our shelf did, Bloom's book holds mostly stories and poems of the Western tradition. That limitation can be criticized, but it would be a mistake, in my view, to let that be a reason for not giving a child this book. You can still buy Ananzi stories or Chinese literature or whatever other books you want. And they'll fit right next to it on the shelf.
It is why I have an aversion to the Beatrix Potter stories. I dislike Potter's crude writing (Graham Greene, no less, pointed out that she can barely write a proper sentence, and as for paragraphing, pphew!) How much better to put the well-written poem, fable or story in front of your child - no matter its or the child's age.
Now Bloom puts forth a treasure trove that would make even a pirate sit up and take notice. Culled from several centuries of writers, not all of whom had children in mind when they took quill to parchment, but rather, -and here is Bloom's point - an intelligent audience.
Many of the short entries here come from the nineteenth century. For good reason. It is easy to spot where there is much to be learned by the modern reader from these older tales and poems. For instance, how about the following (from Alice in Wonderland, or is it Alice Through The Looking Glass?) for instilling a good feeling of self-worth in a young girl?
"Hold your tongue," said the Queen turning purple.
"I won't!" said Alice
"Off with her head!" the Queen shouted at the top of her voice.
"Who cares for you?" said Alice. She had grown to her full size by this time.)
"You're nothing but a pack of cards!"
More than once in a lifetime, Bloom points out, every reader will grow to full size by crying out, to the right audience "Who cares for you? You're nothing but a pack of cards!"
Even the youngest child responds to this;
'The Owl and the Pussy- cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat. . . ."
Bloom omits the obscure, and the backbreaker, but includes what is illuminating, entertaining, and often humorous. There are thrills too. Sherlock Holmes makes a memorable appearance, and Guy de Maupassant's astonishing - and rarely published - story The Horla jumps off the page like a rediscovered Grimm's Faery Tale.
This is a book for your favourite child - and that could be you.