Little Girl With Seven Names by Mabel Leigh Hunt

Before there was Tikki-tikki-tembo-no-sa-rembo-chari-bari-ruchi-pip-peri-pembo, author Mabel Leigh Hunt (b.November 1, 1892, d.September 3, 1971) told the story of a little Quaker girl named Melissa Louisa Amanda Miranda Cynthia Jane Farlow, a girl with a great long name almost as long and almost as troublesome to her as Tikki-tikki-tembo’s name was to him.

Melissa Louisa is named after her two grandmothers and her four maiden aunts, and even when the other children make fun of her very long name, she finds that she can’t get rid of any part of it, for fear of offending or hurting one of the family members that she dearly loves. What is a little girl to do?

This beginning chapter book of only sixty-four pages is just the right length for beginning readers who are working their way up into books with more text than pictures. Melissa Louisa is about six or seven years old in the stories, and she acts like a six or seven year old. The ensuing misunderstandings and adventures are tame enough but also surprising and delight-filled for young readers.

Author Mabel Leigh Hunt is not to be found in Jan Bloom’s two volumes of Who Should We Then Read?, but she is a worthy author with a gift for storytelling. Two of her books won Newbery Honors: Have You Seen Tom Thumb? in 1943 and Better Known as Johnny Appleseed in 1951. Ms. Hunt was born into a Quaker family herself, and as an adult she became a librarian and then an author, often writing about Quaker boys and girls in her books. The books, which have an old-fashioned air and a childlike sense of humor, are fresh and lively and suited to a new generation of children who like to read about “olden times and places.”

Other books for young readers about Quaker children:
The Double Birthday Surprise (or Present) by Mabel Leigh Hunt.
Cupola House by Mabel Leigh Hunt.
Tomorrow Will Be Bright by Mabel Leigh Hunt.
Lucinda, A Little Girl of 1860 by Mabel Leigh Hunt.
Beggar’s Daughter by Mabel Leigh Hunt.

The Arrow Over the Door by Joseph Bruchac.

Thee, Hannah! by Marguerite de Angeli.

The picture book series of Obadiah books by Brinton Turkle:
Obadiah the Bold
Thy Friend, Obadiah
Obadiah and Rachel
Adventures of Obadiah

For middle grade and young adult readers:
Lark in the Morn by Elfrida Vipont. About a Quaker family in England.
The Lark on the Wing (The Haverard Family, #2) Carnegie Medal winner, 1950.
The Spring of the Year (The Haverard Family, #3)
Flowering Spring (The Haverard Family, #4)
The Pavilion (The Haverard Family, #5)

They Loved to Laugh by Kathryn Worth.

Downright Dency by Caroline Snedeker. Newbery Honor book.

Books about real Quaker heroes and heroines:
The Quakers by Kathleen Elgin.
The Thieves of Tyburn Square: Elizabeth Fry (Trailblazer Books #17) by Dave and Neta Jackson.
Key to the Prison by Louise A. Vernon. Historical fiction about Quaker founder George Fox.
Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry. Fictional story of Quaker artist Benjamin West.
William Penn: Quaker Hero (Landmark Book No. 98) by Hildegarde Dolson.
Penn by Elizabeth Janet Gray.
The World of William Penn by Genevieve Foster.
John Greenleaf Whittier: Fighting Quaker by Ruth Langland Holberg.
Windows for the Crown Prince by Elizabeth Gray Vining. A memoir about Ms. Vining’s experiences just after World War II in tutoring Crown Prince Akihito, the heir apparent to the Japanese throne. Ms. Vining was a convert to Quakerism.

2014: Quaker Books for Quaker Kids by Elizabeth Bird at A Fuse #8 Production.

November 29th–A Very Good Day

Three wonderful authors, for whose work I am very thankful, were born on this date. Any of their books would make lovely Christmas presents.

1. C.S. Lewis
Lewis is the best writer and the most profound thinker of the three, the one whose work will stand the test of time. I predict that Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and Till We Have Faces, in particular, will be read and appreciated a hundred years from now. Because he died fifty years ago on November 22, 1963, he has been remembered with many, many articles and blog posts this month. Here are links to just a few from this year and from other years.
50 Years Ago Today, RIP Jack
Jared at Thinklings: Remembering Jack (2005)
Lars Walker at Brandywine Books: The Feast of St. Jack and The Great Man’s Headgear
Hope at Worthwhile Books reviews Out of the Silent Planet, the first book in Lewis’s space trilogy.
Heidi at Mt. Hope Chronicles writes about her appreciation for the works of C.S. Lewis.
Jollyblogger reviews Lewis’s The Great Divorce.

2. Madeleine L’Engle
Ms. L’Engle is the most likely of the three to have her work become dated. However, the science fiction quartet that begins with A Wrinkle in Time may very well last because it deals with themes that transcend time and localized concerns. And I still like The Love Letters the best of all her books, a wonderful book on the meaning of marriage and of maturity.
Madeleine L’Engle favorites.
In which I invite Madeleine L’Engle to tea in June, 2006, before her death last year.
A Madeleine L’Engle Annotated bibliography.
Semicolon Review of The Small Rain and A Severed Wasp by Madeleine L’Engle.
Semicolon Review of Camilla by Madeleine L’Engle.
My Madeleine L’Engle project, which has languished this year, but I hope to get back to it in 2009.
Mindy Withrow writes about A Circle of Quiet.
Remembering Madeleine: Obituaries and Remembrances from September, 2007.

3. Louisa May Alcott.
I love reading about Ms. Alcott’s girls and boys even though many people are too jaded and feminist to enjoy books that celebrate the joys of domesticity and home education.
Circle of Quiet quotes An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott on the wearing of blue gloves.
Carrie reviews Little Women, after three attempts to get though it.
Claire, The Captive Reader re-reads my favorite Louisa May Alcott novel, Eight Cousins.
Claire, The Captive Reader revisits Rose in Bloom, the sequel to Eight Cousins.
Sam at Book Chase reviews Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen.
Joyfuly Retired sponsored an “All Things Alcott” Challenge in 2010 where you can find links to many posts about Louisa May and her family and her novels.

November 29, 2007: To This Great Stage of Fools.

Poetry Friday: David McCord

Children’s poet David McCord was born on November 15 (or December 15 or 17), 1897 in New York City. (Most internet sources say December 15th or just 1897.) He grew up in New Jersey and Oregon, and went to school at Harvard, where he later worked as a fundraiser for the Harvard College Fund.

He once said about writing poetry for children:

“Whatever may be said about this small but graceful art, three things should be remembered: good poems for children are never trivial; they are never written without the characteristic chills and fever of a dedicated man at work; they must never bear the stigma of I am adult, you are a child.”

“McCord said he developed a love of words and a fine sense of rhythm from reading aloud the Bible to his elderly grandmother.” (Obituary, Harvard Gazette, April 17, 1997)

This poem is the one by Mr. McCord I remember reading over and over again until I practically had it memorized. I used to read my library books while perched in the mulberry tree next to my house, so I suppose this poem was something close to my own experience.

51VY32VQ2hL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_Every time I climb a tree
Every time I climb a tree
Every time I climb a tree
I scrape a leg
Or skin a knee
And every time I climb a tree
I find some ants
Or dodge a bee
And get the ants
All over me.

And every time I climb a tree
Where have you been?
They say to me
But don’t they know that I am free
Every time I climb a tree?

I like it best
To spot a nest
That has an egg
Or maybe three.

And then I skin
The other leg
But every time I climb a tree
I see a lot of things to see
Swallows rooftops and TV
And all the fields and farms there be
Every time I climb a tree
Though climbing may be good for ants
It isn’t awfully good for pants
But still it’s pretty good for me
Every time I climb a tree

Lee Bennett Hopkins discusses David McCord and his poetry.

Poetry Friday Roundup this week is at Jama’s Alphabet Soup. I can’t think of a more poetical place to visit on a crisp November day.

Edith Schaeffer, 1914-2013

Edith Schaeffer, wife of theologian and Christian apologist Francis Schaeffer, and an author and teacher in her own right, died today and went to be with the Lord.

I knew her through her books, some of which were and are my favorites. I’ve read and enjoyed the ones in boldface.

1969. L’Abri.
1971. The Hidden Art of Homemaking: Creative Ideas for Enriching Everyday Life.
1973. Everybody Can Know.
1978. Affliction.
1975. Christianity is Jewish.
1975. What is a Family?
1977. A Way of Seeing.
1981. The Tapestry: the life and times of Francis and Edith Schaeffer.
1983. Common Sense Christian Living.
1983. Lifelines: God’s Framework for Christian Living.
1986. Forever Music.
1988. With Love, Edith: the L’Abri family letters 1948-1960.
1989. Dear Family: the L’Abri family letters 1961-1986.
1992. The Life of Prayer.
1994. A Celebration of Marriage: Hopes and Realities.
1994. 10 Things Parents Must Teach Their Children (And Learn for Themselves)
1998. Mei Fuh: Memories from China.
2000. A Celebration of Children.

I need to look for the rest of these books.

“God does not promise to treat each of his children the same in this life. God does not say that each one of his children will have the same pattern of living or follow the same plan. God is a God of diversity. God can make trees—but among the trees are hundreds of kinds of trees. God can make apples trees, but among the apples on that tree no two look identically alike. God is able to make snowflakes, and make each snowflake differently. God has a different plan for each of his children—but it all fits together.” Everybody Can Know: Family Devotions from the Gospel of Luke by Francis and Edith Schaeffer

“Don’t be fearful about the journey ahead; don’t worry where you are going or how you are going to get there. If you believe in the first person of the Trinity, God the Father, also believe in the Second Person of the Trinity, the One who came as the Light of the World, not only to die for people, but to light the way… This one, Jesus Christ, is Himself the Light and will guide your footsteps along the way.” ~Edith Schaeffer

Tim Challies on the life and influence of Edith Schaeffer.
Frank Schaeffer: Good-bye, Mom.
Brenda at Coffee, Tea, Books and Me eulogizes Mrs. Schaeffer.

Saturday Review of Books: November 26, 2011

““A book, too, can be a star, ‘explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly’, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.” ~~Madeleine L’Engle

Madeleine L’Engle has a birthday this week, November 29th. In fact November 29 is also the birthday of two other favorite authors: C.S. Lewis and Louisa May Alcott. Will you be celebrating the Triple Threat birth anniversary of these wonderful authors by reading one of their many books? If so, which one?

SatReviewbuttonIf you’re not familiar with and linking to and perusing the Saturday Review of Books here at Semicolon, you’re missing out. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of thing. You can just write your thoughts on a particular book, a few ideas inspired by reading the book, your evaluation, quotations, whatever.

Then on Saturday, you post a link here at Semicolon in Mr. Linky to the specific post where you’ve written your book review. Don’t link to your main blog page because this kind of link makes it hard to find the book review, especially when people drop in later after you’ve added new content to your blog. In parentheses after your name, add the title of the book you’re reviewing. This addition will help people to find the reviews they’re most interested in reading.

After linking to your own reviews, you can spend as long as you want reading the reviews of other bloggers for the week and adding to your wishlist of books to read. That’s how my own TBR list has become completely unmanageable and the reason I can’t join any reading challenges. I have my own personal challenge that never ends.

The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith

I’ve decided that on Mondays I’m going to revisit the books I read for a course in college called Advanced Reading Survey, taught by the eminent scholar and lovable professor, Dr. Huff. I’m not going to re-read all the books and poems I read for that course, probably more than fifty, but I am going to post to Semicolon the entries in the reading journal that I was required to keep for that class because I think that my entries on these works of literature may be of interest to readers here and because I’m afraid that the thirty year old spiral notebook in which I wrote these entries may fall apart ere long. I may offer my more mature perspective on the books, too, if I remember enough about them to do so.

Author: Oliver Goldsmith was born November 10, 1728, the son of a poor Irish clergyman. He was educated at various borading schools and one of his schoolmasters called him a “stupid, heavy blockhead.” You can read his most famous play, She Stoops to Conquer online. The Vicar of Wakefield, Goldsmith’s novel, is also available here. Said novel starts with this line:

“I was ever of opinion that the honest man who married and brought up a large family did more service than he who continued single and only talked of population.”

This line was written back when populating the world was still considered a service. The book goes on to tell the story of Dr. Primrose, the vicar of Wakefield, and his family and his many troubles.

Goldsmith himself was an unknown literary critic in poor financial straits until he became a protege of Samuel Johnson. Samuel Johnson said of his friend Goldsmith: “Goldsmith, however, was a man, who, whatever he wrote did it better than any other man could do.” High praise, indeed. Goldsmith, however, said of Samuel Johnson: “There is no arguing with Johnson; for when his pistol misses fire, he knocks you down with the butt end of it.“

His association with Samuel Johnson brought Goldsmith recognition but not financial success. When Goldsmith died in 1774, he was in debt for 2000 pounds, a great deal of money in that day.

Dr. Primrose–the vicar of Wakefield
Mrs. Primrose–his wife
George, Sophia, Olivia, and Moses–the Primrose children
Mr. Thornhill–a gentleman
Sir William Thornhill–Mr. Thornhill’s uncle
Miss Wilmot–George’s fiancee

Dr. Primrose and his family endure various trials and vicissitudes, including the seduction of one daughter, the loss of their fortune, a fire, and the imprisonment of the title character. It’s supposed to be funny, folks.

“Man little knows what calamities are beyond his patience to bear till he tries them . . . As we descend, the objects appear to brighten, unexpected prospects amuse, and the mental eye becomes adapted to its situation.”

“Her own misfortunes engrossed all the pity she once had for those of another, and nothing gave her ease. In company she dreaded contempt and in solitude she only found anxiety.”

More reviews:
Hope at Worthwhile Books on The Vicar of Wakefield: “The language was not singularly beautiful nor were the characters richly developed. In fact, the calamities and coincidences in the book were so unbelievable that I had to force myself to finish it. “

Christmas with Mark Twain, c.1897

Mark Twain was born on November 30, 1835.

“The approach of Christmas brings harrassment and dread to many excellent people. They have to buy a cart-load of presents, and they never know what to buy to hit the various tastes; they put in three weeks of hard and anxious work, and when Christmas morning comes they are so dissatisfied with the result, and so disappointed that they want to sit down and cry. Then they give thanks that Christmas comes but once a year.”
Following the Equator

“It is my heart-warm and world-embracing Christmas hope and aspiration that all of us, the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the admired, the despised, the loved, the hated, the civilized, the savage (every man and brother of us all throughout the whole earth), may eventually be gathered together in a heaven of everlasting rest and peace and bliss, except the inventor of the telephone.” From Caroline Harnsberger’s Mark Twain at Your Fingertips.

Here’s hoping that your Christmas season celebration turns out to be less stressful and harassing than Mr. Twain’s seemed to be. What would he say about cell phones and email?

C.S. Lewis on Christmas

Clive Staples Lewis was born November 29, 1898. On Christmas Day 1931, C.S. Lewis joined the Anglican Church and took communion.

“The White Witch? Who is she?
“Why, it is she that has got all Narnia under her thumb. It’s she that makes it always winter and never Christmas; think of that!”
“How awful!” said Lucy.
~The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

It was a sledge, and it was reindeer with bells on their harness. But they were far bigger than the Witch’s reindeer, and they were not white but brown. And on the sledge sat a person whom everyone knew the moment they set eyes on him. He was a huge man in a bright red robe (bright as hollyberries) with a hood that had fur inside it and a great white beard that fell like a foamy waterfall over his chest. Everyone knew him because, though you see people of his sort only in Narnia, you see pictures of them and hear them talked about even in our world—the world on this side of the wardrobe door. But when you really see them in Narnia it is rather different. Some of the pictures of Father Christmas in our world make him look only funny and jolly. But now that the children actually stood looking at him they didn’t find it quite like that. He was so big, and so glad, and so real, that they all became quite still. They felt very glad, but also solemn.
~The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

“In the middle of winter when fogs and rains most abound they have a great festival which they call Exmas, and for fifty days they prepare for it in the fashion I shall describe. First of all, every citizen is obliged to send to each of his friends and relations a square piece of hard paper stamped with a picture, which in their speech is called an Exmas-card. But the pictures represent birds sitting on branches, or trees with a dark green prickly leaf, or else men in such garments as the Niatirbians believe that their ancestors wore two hundred years ago riding in coaches such as their ancestors used, or houses with snow on their roofs. And the Niatirbians are unwilling to say what these pictures have to do with the festival, guarding (as I suppose) some sacred mystery. And because all men must send these cards the market-place is filled with the crowd of those buying them, so that there is great labour and weariness.


Such, then, are their customs about the Exmas. But the few among the Niatirbians have also a festival, separate and to themselves, called Crissmas, which is on the same day as Exmas. And those who keep Crissmas, doing the opposite to the majority of the Niatirbians, rise early on that day with shining faces and go before sunrise to certain temples where they partake of a sacred feast. And in most of the temples they set out images of a fair woman with a new-born Child on her knees and certain animals and shepherds adoring the Child. . . . But what Hecataeus says, that Exmas and Crissmas are the same, is not credible. For the first, the pictures which are stamped on the Exmas-cards have nothing to do with the sacred story which the priests tell about Crissmas. And secondly, the most part of the Niatirbians, not believing the religion of the few, nevertheless send the gifts and cards and participate in the Rush and drink, wearing paper caps. But it is not likely that men, even being barbarians, should suffer so many and great things in honour of a god they do not believe in.”
~God in the Dock, A Lost Chapter from Herodotus. Read the entire “lost chapter.”

I feel exactly as you do about the horrid commercial racket they have made out of Christmas. I send no cards and give no presents except to children.
~Letters to an American Lady.

He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; down further still, . . . to the very roots and seabed of the Nature He has created. But He goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him. One has the picture of a strong man stooping lower and lower to get himself underneath some great complicated burden. He must stoop in order to lift, he must almost disappear under the load before he incredibly straightens his back and marches off with the whole mass swaying on his shoulders.
Or one may think of a diver, first reducing himself to nakedness, then glancing in mid-air, then gone with a splash, vanished, rushing down through green and warm water into black and cold water, down through increasing pressure into the death-like region of ooze and slime and old decay; then up again, back to colour and light, his lungs almost bursting, till suddenly he breaks surface again, holding in his hand the dripping, precious thing that he went down to recover.

The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God.
~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

C.S. Lewis on Heaven.

Madeleine L’Engle Favorites

Madeleine L’Engle was born November 29, 1918.

Favorite adult novel by Madeleine L’Engle: The Love Letters

Second favorite adult novel: The Severed Wasp

Third favorite adult novel: Certain Women. Semicolon review here.

Favorite Young Adult novel: The Small Rain. Semicolon review here.

Favorite of the Time Quartet books: A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Favorite male characters: Charles Wallace or Felix Bodeway, the Window Washer

Favorite female characters: Meg Murry, Polly, Vicky Austin, Katherine Forrester, all of them.

Favorite Austin family novel: A Ring of Endless Light

Favorite Murry family novel: A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Favorite nonfiction: The Summer of the Great-Grandmother

If you’ve never read anything by Madeleine L’Engle, I would suggest that you start with one of the following:

Science fiction/fantasy fans: A Wrinkle in Time
Adolescent girls: A Ring of Endless Light
Adolescent boys: The Young Unicorns
Artists and writers: Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art
Romance fiction fans: The Love Letters. Semicolon review here.
Students and fans of children’s literature: Trailing Clouds of Glory: Spiritual Values in Children’s Literature
For Christmas inspirational reading: A Full House(short story)

A Madeleine L’Engle Annotated Bibliography.
Madeleine L’Engle: In Her Own Words
Carol’s Meme for November 29th: Lewis, L’Engle, and Alcott.

Christmas in Concord, Massachusetts, 1863

Louisa May Alcott was born on November 29, 1832.

“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

“It’s so dreadful to be poor!” sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.

“I don’t think it’s fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all,” added little Amy, with an injured sniff.

“We’ve got Father and Mother, and each other,” said Beth contentedly from her corner.

The four young faces on which the firelight shone brightened at the cheerful words, but darkened again as Jo said sadly, “We haven’t got Father, and shall not have him for a long time.” She didn’t say “perhaps never,” but each silently added it, thinking of Father far away, where the fighting was.

Nobody spoke for a minute; then Meg said in an altered tone, “You know the reason Mother proposed not having any presents this Christmas was because it is going to be a hard winter for everyone; and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure, when our men are suffering so in the army. We can’t do much,but we can make our little sacrifices, and ought to do it gladly. But I am afraid I don’t” And Meg shook her head,as she thought regretfully of all the pretty things she wanted.

“But I don’t think the little we should spend would do any good. We’ve each got a dollar, and the army wouldn’t be much helped by our giving that. I agree not to expect anything from Mother or you, but I do want to buy UNDINE AND SINTRAM for myself. I’ve wanted it so long,” said Jo, who was a bookworm.

“I planned to spend mine in new music,” said Beth, with a little sigh, which no one heard but the hearth brush and kettle holder.

“I shall get a nice box of Faber’s drawing pencils. I really need them,” said Amy decidedly.

“Mother didn’t say anything about our money, and she won’t wish us to give up everything. Let’s each buy what we want, and have a little fun. I’m sure we work hard enough to earn it,” cried Jo, examining the heels of her shoes in a gentlemanly manner.