When we first saw this book in the store, we skimmed through several stories to see if these were ones that would be appropriate for a 5 year old. Among the authors listed on the copyright page are Hans Christian Andersen, William Blake, John Keats, Christina Rossetti, William Shakespeare, Robert Louis Stevenson--sounds good, huh? One problem, though, is that the individual works aren't attributed, so if you don't already know who wrote them, you certainly won't get that information in this book. And what's more, there are as many unknown authors who don't have nearly the skill of these writers.
There are some great little poems here--Rossetti's "Hurt No Living Thing," Blake's "Spring," Tennyson's "City Child." There are also classics like "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush" and "Frere Jacques." But these are oddly interspersed with stories that have little literary merit and even less contemporary value. I know what the original meanings of these texts are, and I understand they might be considered "classics," but some of the selections, like "Ride a Cock Horse" and "Tickly Tickly," are so outdated that they require more explanation than actual reading. Likewise, the messages that the stories present to young girls aren't necessarily ones that I want to project to my daughter. "The Case of the Disappearing Books," for example, is a two page story about a girl who goes to the library only to find that many books are missing. It turns out that a famous rock star had "borrowed" the books without permission. He returns the book and receives no punishment because, while the librarian was pleased to get her books back, "she was even more pleased to meet her favorite rock star."
After reading that little gem with my daughter, we did have a great discussion about fairness and about how it wasn't right that somebody got away with doing something wrong just because he was famous. I didn't mind the discussion, but it certainly wasn't what I expected to have when reading a book for girls, and I'm glad that she didn't read it on her own.
Overall, this "treasury" isn't bad; my daughter loves the story-a-day pace that allows her to get readings from several different books each night. However, if I had it to do all over again, I would've passed on this book altogether.