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Written for Ralph Waldo Emerson's daughter, Ellen, when Alcott was 16, and first published in 1855, these six prosy fairy tales were chosen from a 1992 collection, Louisa May Alcott's Fairy Tales and Fantasy Stories, edited by Daniel Shealy; Shealy provides an informative afterword here. Readers meet a cast of elves, fairies, brownies and sprites with such Shakespearean names as Willy Wisp, Moonbeam and Thistledown, and the children who occasionally dally with them. Thinly disguised morality lessons told in an over-upholstered style, they instruct the audience in the importance of various virtues. In "The Frost King," for example, elves resolve to conquer the ice-hearted ruler of winter through peaceable means ("Let us teach you how beautiful sunshine and love and happy work can make you"). More than a little dated, the stories grow tedious with lofty homilies (e.g., "little Annie dwelt like a sunbeam in her home, each day growing richer in the love of others and happier in herself"). Preiss's (The Pig's Alphabet) garish artwork further hampers an emotional connection to the stories. The lack of tonal subtlety is aggravated by a self-consciously multicultural-esque grouping of fairy folk with oversize but misshapen eyes and bizarrely pointed ears and chins. Even the typeface, which has distractingly flowery ligatures, is overdone. All but the most die-hard Alcott fans can skip this one. Ages 5-12.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
For nearly 150 years, children around the world have cherished the stories and novels of Louisa May Alcott, including, of course, that most beloved classic Little Women. Surprisingly, there is a body of work by this American master not known to the general public, as it has not been widely published since her lifetime -- her fairy tales and fables.
These stories grew out of Alcott's experience, starting at the age of sixteen, as a teacher and storyteller to the children of her Concord, Massachusetts neighbors, among them Ralph Waldo Emerson. Alcott's imagination was nurtured by woodland walks with her friend Henry David Thoreau, including visits to his cabin on Walden Pond, and by the Transcendentalist philosophies of her father, Bronson Alcott. In this atmosphere she fashioned highly imaginative tales for her students. Encouraged by their spirited response, Alcott published six of her fairy tales under the title Flower Fables in 1854, marking the inception of her life as a pioneer in American fantasy fiction.
Indeed, it seemed a natural extension of Alcott's intellectual curiosity and love of nature to create a vibrant environment of possibility for children. Through these marvelously enticing encounters with fairies, elves, and animals, Alcott laid a foundation for young people based on the essential themes of love, kindness and responsibility. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description