Friday Frivolity: Twain and Tolstoy for Toddlers


Once again it’s Friday, and, once again, we’re writing about books. This week, its children’s books, specifically, little known children’s books by literary giants. On the Brain Pickings blog, the post 7 Obscure Children’s Books by Authors of Grown up Literature contains brief accounts of the origins of children’s books by James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, and others.


Should the modern mother feel inadequate because her children's book shelves do not house Twain or Tolstoy? Hardly. Yet, many of the books on this list appear to be so delightful, none more than Mark Twain’s Advice to Little Girls, which includes this gem:

You ought never to take your little brother’s ‘chewing-gum’ away from him by main force; it is better to rope him in with the promise of the first two dollars and a half you find floating down the river on a grindstone. In the artless simplicity natural to this time of life, he will regard it as a perfectly fair transaction. In all ages of the world this eminently plausible fiction has lured the obtuse infant to financial ruin and disaster.

Ah, the cleverness, the humor, and what a vocabulary! It makes this modern mother want to buy it right now, and I don’t even have any little girls. Perhaps this book will be for me.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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