The Adventures of a Brownie, by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
This week I finished reading this book aloud for the second time. My kids LOVED it! Originally written in 1908, you would think that the language and plot would be too antiquated for young children. Not so.
This was my daughter’s second time hearing it and my son’s first. My daughter was around my son’s current age when she heard it the first time (he’s 5yrs old). She was every bit as interested in the adventures of this fairy-like character (without wings) at 10yrs as she was around 5! In fact, I had only intended to read it aloud to my son, but she absolutely insisted that I include her in the reading as well. Too cute! At times she even gave up her turn to hear a chapter from her current Chrestomanci book! (Which she also LOVES!) Surprised the heck out of me! 🙂
This is a short book at the end of an old copy of “The Little Lame Prince” (which we still have yet to read) that I have had since MY childhood and oddly never read until I had children of my own. It tells the story of a mischievous little brown man (no, not as in African decent…literally all brown…brown clothes, brown hat, brown hair, brown eyes, brown skin.) He is a fun little guy who often plays with the 6 children of the house. He plays tricks on the grownups regularly and generally causes many different adventures (good and not-so-good) to happen to the family and servants in this story. He is able to do magic such as turn himself into different animals and make food appear out of thin air.
Incidentally, I got the impression that the children were homeschooled, as they seemed to say that the children’s lessons were done in their house…Though not a surprise if you think of the time period this story is from.
Just a heads up for those that might be sensitive to this sort of thing: There’s a few parts in this book that talk about a “whipping” or “beating” or “boxing of ears” to an animal or child…but honestly I found that they were very down played. I’m VERY sensitive to violent content in children’s books, but these few instances of corporal punishment sprinkled into this delightful little book didn’t bother me enough to put the book down. It became, instead, an opportunity to briefly discuss with my children that some grownups, especially during the time this book was written, believe that its ok to hit children or animals. But that our family does not agree with this. If you have a sensitive child, or are bothered by these references, you could easily just skip over them and it won’t affect the story.
All in all, this book is really cute and a wonderful way to introduce your children to a different time period…We got to discuss what a coal cellar was!