GIFT-BOOKS FOR CHILDREN.*
The Allies' Fairy Book' is sure of a warm welcome, not only for its engaging title, but for its delightful contents. The stories are as well chosen for illustrating our various national characteristics as they are for taking their readers into some of the most delectable glades of fairyland. First comes "Jack the Giant-Killer," in the full and circumstantial form in which it has been preserved for us by Mr. Joseph Jacobs. After some examples of Celtic stories we find Mr. S. R. Littlewood's excellent translation of Perrault's "Sleeping Beauty." This also is given in full, and so ends, not with the awakening of the Princess, but with the appalling, but well-deserved, death of the old ogress Queen. The Italian story is taken from Straparola, and the Portuguese from Mr. Lang's Grey Fairy Book. In these, as also in the Serbian story, animals take a prominent part, sometimes as enchanted mortals, and at others as "friendly beasts," like Cesarinos's lion, wolf, and bear. The Japanese animals are of another sort, but also full of interesting and remarkable qualities. The Belgian contribution to this anthology gave Mr. Edmund Gone "a great deal of anxiety," he tells vs in hie introduction, for it was impossible to discover "any fairy-stories peculiar to Belgian territory." He therefore turned to Charles de Costa's romance of " Thyl Ulenspiegel," which "isinspired by a patriotism which wasnever so appropriate as it is to-day." In the episode here given we see something of the intense vital energy of the undauntable Flemings, and though there is more of allegory than fairy-tale in this" Last Adventure," Mr. Gosse did well to give it a place in his collection. Unfortunately, the book went to press in August, just too late to include a Rumanian story, but we are promised this in another edition. We must add a few lines on Mr. Geese's very interesting introduction. In it he discusses the ever-fascinating subjectof folk-lore, and of the remarkable worldwide distribution of practically identical legends and traditions. But, after all, would it not be stranger if these stories which hold up a mirror to the fundamental events of humanity, "birth and death, and all dark names that be As door and windows bared to some loud sea," were not essentially the came in all countries ? Mr. Raekham's illus. tratlone in colour and black-and-white are as usual in close touch with Oland, though not perhaps quite as full of curious detail as are some other examples of his art.
The unnamed author of The Strand Fairy Books has given us some interesting little stories composed of the usual fairy-tale ingredients : of lords, ladies, brave princes, fierce beasts, and also of a few less wellknown details, no doubt derived from the fairy-lore of some of our • (1) The Allia Fairy Book. With an Introduction by Edmund Goose, (LB., and illustrations by Arthur Beckham. London: W. Heinemann. Ns. net.1—(2) The :Irma Fairy Book. London : George Newnes. [3s. ed. net.]—(3) A Nursery Geography. By George B. Dickson. Illustrated by George Morrow. London: T. C. and E. C. Jack. (Is. ed. net.]—(4) The Wonder Book of 'Children of All billii01411, and the People they Lice with. With 12 Coloured Plates and nearly 900 Illustrations. Edited by Harry Golding. London : Ward, Lock, and Co. [9s. net.] ---(5) Paley in Willow-Pat-Land. Written by Rowland It. Gibson and Illustrated t.y Maud Tindal-Atkioson. London : Duckworth and CO. (3a. ed. net.]— (6) Bottom Tree Nights and Days. By Albert Bigelow Paine. With Illustrations by .1. M. Conde. Leaden: Harper and Brothers (cal—(7) Old-Not-Too-Bright and Lilywhile. By Harold Simpson. Illustrated by G. H. Shepheard.. London : Ward, Leek, and Co. [Is. neta----(8) The Rossbus 44/111U411. With about 200 Illustrations. London : JAMB Clarke and Co. Oa. net4
Allies. They are well written, and if they are grave, perhaps even somewhat wistful in tone, there is no lack of adventure in these well. printed and plentifully illustrated pages.
There is a great deal of interesting and useful information conveyed in an entertaining manner in A Nursery Geography.: It begins very simply with descriptions of easily understood things, and goes on toteach something of each subjects as geology, climate, and commerce, as well as sea depths in ancient and modern times. In the company of an obliging Arabian, and seated on his magic carpet, a nurseryparty pay visits to many lands, and their impressions are here recorded
by one of their number. They also sometimes travelled by aeroplane, and thus very quickly traversed most of the countries of the world.
The rapidity of their progress is perhaps a little bewildering, at any rate to the grown-up reader, but a nursery audience will see no incongruity in going from the Amazon to Holland with only the break of a chapter. The illustrations—in colour and black-and-white—are amusing and clearly printed, and will be easily understood by the children for whom they are intended.
The Wonder Book of Children of All Nations4 is another instructive volume. It consists of short articles by various writers, who differ considerably both in style and in ability. But on the whole the
work is very well done, and indeed many of the chapters are so interesting that older children than those for whom the picture on the cover seems to indicate that the book is meant will find them attractive reading.
The contents are arranged under such headings as "Some Friends in France," "A Call upon the Ruseiane," "When Jesus was a Boy," "Music Hath Charms," and "Punishments and Penances." In this last chapter we are given accounts (but not in great detail) of the Chinese " cangue " and of some of the Indian self-inflicted penances. It is interesting to read in the chapter on "The Red Men of the West" that "the copper-coloured natives of the plains . . . were among the
earliest Canadians to offer their services to King George when the Great War broke out," and to hear that, besides doing valiant service
in the trenches of Flanders, "they have been of special value in that system of reconnaiseanee and scouting in which the Red Indian excels." Some of the illOstratione are not very clear, and we cannot help thinking that it would have been better if they had been fewer and more carefully reproduced.
There is plenty of good, satisfactory nonsense in Patsy in WillowPat-Land, s but why should the author have thought it amusing to
make children laugh at drunken dragons or at a rowdy, tipsy moon ?
It is a mistake to turnthe tragedy of drink into a joke, even if the maudlin creatures are thus more easily put to rout by the other characters in the story. Patsy is a dear little girl, and we do not like, to think of her in such surroundings. If the book is read aloud these scenes can be skipped, and the other characters, the rabbit, the lion
dog, the Chinese .fairy, and all their quaint ways and adventures, can then be enjoyed in comfort. The illustrations are pretty, and the. coverwith its willow-pattern effect is attractive.
Hollow Tree Nights and Days" is the third of a series of "Hollow Tree" books. The characters are animals with human characteristics
and they have many adventures and =apes of various sorts. The story of the little bear and the molasses will probably be found the most amusing by children, for some of the others are almost too com plicated to make much impression on a nursery audience, while a schoolroom reader would be apt to characterize them, all unread, as "babyish." The American author would have been wiser not to put foolish reflections on the war into the mouths of his animals, as when he makes Mr. Dog remark "that as far as he could see there was just as much sense in that war as there was in the one going on over on the other side of the world." The black-and-white pictures are clever, and there is a certain liveliness about the stories that makes them readable.
Old-Not-Too-Bright and Lilywhites is a pretty little book for quite young children, with good jingling rhymes and clearly coloured pictures, telling of the absurd and fantastic adventures of an old man and a, friendly white horse.
• The Rosebud Annuals is as usual full of merry stories, verses, and pictures about nice children and funny animals, with a few fairies thrown in for luck.
Shakespeare and Precious Stones. By George Frederick Kunz, Ph.D., So.D., A.M. With Illustrations. (J. B. Lippincott Co. 6s. not..)— Under this attractive title we find an interesting if somewhat matter-offact account of the Elizabethan attitude of mind towards gems and theis settings. The author asserts that "in no period was jewelry worn more ornately, or with greater display, we might almost say ostentation, than in the ago of Shakespeare"; but as the beauty and good workmanship of the setting were considered of more value than the actual stones, " ostentation " seems an unduly harsh epithet to apply to a taste fon beautiful ornaments. With a design, perhaps by Holteirt, carried out by an artist craftsman, the result may wall have been worthy of the high place accorded to jewellery among the decorative arts at this time. Mr. Kunz tells us something of the master jewellers, among whom was Nicholas Herrick, the poet's father. Besides the pages more especially devoted to precious stones we are given a sketch of contemporary history. some remarks on the First Folio and "the Droeshout print,"
followed by a list of "Precious Stones Mentioned in the Plays," and another of those "in the Poems of Shakespeare," with detailed references. The frontispiece is from the First Folio, and there are some other interesting black-and-white illustrations.
Rhymes for Riper Years. By Harry Graham. Illustrated by Norah Brassey. (Mills and Boon. 3s. 6d. net.)—This is a eollection of mildly amusing verses, the writing of which, says the author, enabled him, in the intervals of his training, to "forget the Kaiser and his crimes," and he suggests that the reader may also find "a humble haven" in these pages. There is certainly nothing disquieting here, but the manners and fashions of the time just before the war seem now so far removed from us that it requires something of an effort to enjoy a joke at the expense of things so fragile and forgotten. Of the illustrations we prefer the frontispiece, with its bored, but still politely attentive old lady and gentleman, listening to a reader whose efforts have sent one of his audience, at any rate, into a placid doze.
Stories of Russian Folk Life. By Donald A. Mackenzie. Illustrated. (Mackie and Son. 2s. 6d . net.)—This volume of the "Story and Legend Library" contains seven short stories of Russian life, both ancient and modern, and an introduction in which the author gives us an interesting sketch of a few of the most prominent facts of the geography and history of the country. Some of the stories are traditional, and in one we have an exciting and tragic encounter with wolves, while in the last, and in some ways the best, there is an account of the actual moment of transition for the peasants from serfdom to liberty, and for the landlords of one set of responsibilities to another. The good sense and patience that were shown in this crisis are clearly brought before us, as indeed are other qualities of heroism and kindness so characteristio of the Russian people with whom this book is concerned.
The Stitchery Annual, Vol.-IV. Edited by Flora Klickmann. (Office ol the Girl's-Own Paper and Woman's Magazine. Is. net.)—This little volume contains a great many crochet patterns of various sorts, interspersed with general advice on needlework, such as decorative stitches, plain sewing, and economical and practical suggestions for using up odds and ends of material to advantage. There is a useful chapter on "work for the wounded," calling attention to an article (sanctioned by the Queen) in the Girl's Own Paper and Woman's .Magazine, giving particulars of the garments now needed for the wounded. There is also a clear account of the construction of a charming doll's flat out of a cardboard hat-box. The editor takes a cheerful view of the pleasure to lie found in plain needlework, and her brightly written pages will perhaps encourage some of the women who find sewing a necessary but not eihilarating form of work.