Wonderful Stories

Norman Goes Down the River!!

Original Story by Eric K Fairman

Illustrations by Emma Reinhart

Comb Bound


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Norman is a young gnome, only 8 years old, in fact.  Of course, a single gnome year is equal to 10 human years, but despite that fact, Norman was a very young gnome, a child still living with his parents.  One day Norman decides to follow the stream to see where it flows and sets off (a decision that was to bring his parents much worry). What happens next is why this story is told!


Eric Fairman wrote  Norman Goes Down the River!! for Grade 3 students.  It serves as a bridge between the fairy tales of earlier grades and the realism that 3rd graders begin to crave.  The story takes Norman (and the children) on an exciting journey along a stream which has its source high in the densly forested mountain, down to the plains and from thence to the ever increasingly populated areas alongside what has now become a fast flowing river.  At last, Norman arrives in a large city at the mouth of the river where it joins the vast ocean.

Throughout the story, Norman meets with different birds and animals that have homes in the ever changing environment.  Geography and natural history, imagination and adventure all mix and ways both delightful and elucidating.  Norman is sure to be loved by children and adults alike

Very highly recommended for Grade 3 students and for the Grade 3 student in anyone!

The Treasure Cave

Sea Tales of Tiptoes Lightly

Reg Down



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Tiptoes Lightly loves the sea, and when Farmer John and his children, Tom Nutcracker and June Berry, drive to the seaside for Thanksgiving, she goes along with them. Tom and June discover a freshly uncovered cave in the bluffs that run along the shore.  Thay call it their Treasure Cave just for fun, but thn find seven beautiful pearls and a finely wrought golden chain buried in the sand.  Tiptoes sets out to discover the story behind the pearls, and soon a delicate web of tales begins to unfold.  Stretching back to the creation of hte world, they weave together until Tiptoes and the children are caught up in the ongoing drama between the Sea King and his lovely daughter.

Just right for children 6-10 (and their adults!)

The People in Pineapple Place

Anne Lindbergh


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August Brown has been through a lot: his parents have just divorced, he and his mother have moved from Vermont to Washington, D.C., and he's left his catcher's mitt behind with his old friend Zachary Judge. In his new neighborhood of Georgetown, August is the new kid on the block. He doesn't know anyone, and he doesn't want to know anyone. Anyone, that is, except for the friendly rag-bag lady who always comes by on garbage day and without fail waves to August. One day, he decides to follow her and ends up in the mysterious Pineapple Place, a quaint cobblestone street of cheerful houses, where seven invisible – except to August – children from another time live. Before he knows it, August and his fantastic new friends have embarked on the adventure of a lifetime in the nation's capital!

A page-turning fantasy for ages 10 and up!

Worry Week

Anne Lindbergh

Pictures by Kevin Hawkes



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There are twelve long months in every year, but we spend only one of them in Maine. As far as I'm concerned, that means that eleven-twelfths of my life are wasted. Alice is too absent-minded to care much where she is, but Minnow agrees. Only July is real for me and Minnow, because July is the month we spend on North Haven Island.

So begins eleven-year-old Allegra Sloane, and true to her form, when her parents are forced to cut their one month in Maine short, she contrives a plan with her sisters to enable them to stay on the island alone instead of returning to steamy old Boston.

At first, everything proceeds according to plan: the girls slip away from their parents (and avoid a visit to stuffy Aunt Edna!), and the promis of freedom beckons brightly. Unfortunately, their plan has a few holes in it. when the girls return to the cottage, they find it emptied of food. Allegra realizes it's up to her to provide for her impractical sisters. The bookish Alice (age 13) is more interested in reading Nancy Drew stories and declaiming Shakespeare, and Minnow (aka Edith, age 7)is preoccupied with gluing seashells to every canister in the house.

Forced to fend for themselves, the girls learn to live off the land, gathering berries and chanterelles in the woods and mussels from the shore. Allegra learns perhaps the most important lesson: parenting can be very stressful.

In the course of all their other adventures, they discover a "treasure" that binds them closer to their family and to New England's literary heritage.

Anne Lindbergh was a wonderful writer -- The Worry Week is another shining example of her warm heart and masterful skill as a storyteller. It is sure to be loved by girls ages 9 and older.

The Tyger Voyage

Richard Adams

Illustrated by Nicola Bayley

Hardbound, dust jacketed, large format


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This is one of the most delightful children's books I've come upon in a while.  Richard Adams (better known as the author of Watership Down), has created a fantasy that will have everyone in the family smiling and chuckling from beginning to end.  To add to the fun, the entire story is told in humorous rhyming quatrains, matched perfectly by Nicola Bayley's superb paintings.

A gentleman tyger and his son set sail in a rather dubious boat into the timeless unknown.  Together they roam across the seas, through jungles, past ice-covered mountains and erupting volcanoes to be rescued at last by a troupe of gypsies.  Eventually they return in triumph to Victorian England with many an extraordinary tale to tell.

Just right for anyone age 7 and up.


The Boy with Green Thumbs

Maurice Druon


Beautiful, sensitive illustrations in soft pencil drawings


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Here is a story that is not only heartfelt, healing and beautiful, but would make an excellent reader for Waldorf Grade 5!

When eight-year-old Tistou is sent home from school his parents decide he shall learn from real life instead, and where better to start than gardening? With Moustache the dreamy gardener, Tistou discovers a remarkable gift – that he has green thumbs! Everything he touches sprouts beautiful plants. Now Tistou has lots to do. With the power of flowers he can change everything: prisons, slums, hospitals – even war.

"Tistou's name deserves to be on the lips of anyone who cares about the future of our Earth."

- Ashley Ramsden, Storyteller

Sacred Song of the Hermit Thrush

A Native American Legend




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Sacred Songs of the Hermit Thrush

Long ago, the Birds had no songs.
Only Man could sing, and every morning,
Man would greet the rising Sun with a song.

This is a Native legend that tells the story of how the birds were given song, and most especially how it came about that the Hermit Thrush was given the loveliest song of all.  It is so beautifully retold that you can almost hear the voice of the storyteller as you read the words.  The line drawings are heartfelt and exquisite.

As if this were not enough to recommend it, this little booklet is simply perfect for the Waldorf 4th Grade biology block, and in the US, also the section of the geography block that concerns Native culture.  In addition to its very beautiful legend, there is a chapter at the end on "The Natural History of the Hermit Thrush" that paints a wonderful picture of the life and ways of this little bird, along with its basic biology and nature.  The legend and this addtional information combine to make a meaningful and vibrant introduction to the nature of birds and life itself.

Farther back in the book is a listing of the seasonal ceremonies of the Mohawk people, which could easily form the basis for conveying the Native cultural impulse to 4th graders as part of their geography block and throughout the year.

Sacred Song of the Hermit Thrush is a gem that can resonnate in every child's heart, with or without Waldorf education.  The fact it fits perfectly within the Waldorf curriculum simply echoes the beauty of the human heart through the world.  I can't tell you how much I hope that many, many children will be able to hear and learn this story, and how much I hope it inspires many, many adults to offer it to the coming generations.


The Complete Anne of Green Gables

L. M. Montgomery

8 Volume Boxed Set



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The box holding these books reads, "The Life and Adventures of the Most Beloved and Timeless Heroine in All of Fiction." I don't know whether that is objectively true of not, but I do know that Anne Shirley is the most beloved and timeless heroine who ever graced our home. Everyone's "kindred spirit," Anne's are stories to grow with and linger over - our 19 year old daughter, living on her own now, gave them a prominent place in her new apartment and still returns to them as to a very good friend. Wonderful writing, wonderful stories!

This set includes all the "Anne" books, unabridged:

  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Anne of Avonlea
  • Anne of the Island
  • Anne of Windy Poplars
  • Anne's House of Dreams
  • Anne of Ingleside
  • Rainbow Valley
  • Rilla of Ingleside

The Contest

Caroline Stellings

Book of the Year Award Winner
Foreword Magazine



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Anyone who loves Anne of Green Gables, will love The Contest.

Rosy is a girl who loves Anne of Green Gables, recognizing a kindred spirit when she reads about one.  When Rosy's favorite librarian tells her that the library is holding an Anne of Green Gables contest and that the prize is a brand new complete set of Anne books, Rosy is thrilled. 

The problem?  It's a look-alike contest and Rosy is half Mohawk, with long black hair and olive skin.  There's another wrinkle, too: Rosy's new friend Lydia looks just like Anne without even trying, right down to the red hair and freckles.  Rosy thinks Lydia is so nice, she doesn't mind.  But Rosy, like Anne, is undaunted and determines to be the first half-Mohawk ever to win an Anne of Green Gables look-alike contest.  

Kindred spirits never had it so good!  Excellent for ages 9 and up.

The Bee Book

Jakob Streit



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Streit’s father was a beekeeper and it was in early childhood that Jakob developed a passion for the honeybee. This exquisite reader factually and scientifically allows one to enter into the magic and mysterious world of the bees.

The Bee Book offers a beautiful transition from the Animal and Human Being lesson block of Grade 4 to the Botany lesson block of Grade 5 - and would be an appropriate reader for those grade level.

Little Bee Sunbeam

Jakob Streit



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This story reader for younger children relates the adventures of a honeybee named Little Bee Sunbeam. The little bee is in a search for a particularly good nectar to make honey when it suddenly becomes very cold. Honeybees cannot fly when the temperature drops so abruptly and our little bee must spend the night alone in the forest where an exciting adventure unfolds.

I would recommend it for Grade 5 as a reader based on the level of vocabulary used - it also fits in beautlifully with the Botany lesson block. For grades 3 and up, it can be used as a story to be read by an adult.

Swedish Folk Tales

Illustrated by John Bauer

Hardbound, large format, richly illustrated with amazing paintings


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from "Leap Elk and Little Princess Cottongrass"

This dazzling collection of twenty-nine illustrated stories, retold by some of the greatest Swedish writers, includes:

  • “When Mother Troll Took in the King’s Washing” by Elsa Beskow
  • “The Magician’s Cape” by Anna Wahlenberg
  • “Leap the Elk and the Little Princess Cottongrass” by Helge Kjellin
  • “The Four Big Trolls and Little PetHer Pastureman” by Cyrus Granér
  • “The Trolls and the Youngest Tomte” by Alfred Smedberg
  • “The Ring” by Helena Nyblom
  • “The Seven Wishes” by Alfred Smedberg
  • “Stalo and Kauras” by P. A. Lindholm
  • “The Maiden in the Castle of Rosy Clouds” by Harald Ostenson
  • “The Boy and the Trolls, or the Adventure” by Walter Stenström
  • “The Crofters and the Gnomes” by Anna Wahlenberg
  • “The Golden Key” by W. E. Björk
  • “The Giant Who Slept for Ten Thousand Years” by Einar Rosenborg
  • ... and many more!

John Bauer’s original and evocative illustrations bring these classic Swedish folk tales to life. His art seems to me to be a combination of earthly idealism and a fascintating evocation of spiritual reality (or perhaps "elemental reality"). It is no wonder that he is so beloved in Sweden. This collection, paired with his paintings, makes this a book to treasure for generations.

Because of the complexity of some of the themes, as well as the rather robust encounters of humans and elemental beings, I personally recommend this collection for children ages 9 and older, though some of the stories are appropriate for younger children.

The Wonderful Adventures of Nils

Selma Lagerlöf




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A short note about this edition: Many of you know that we used to carry the large-format, illustrated edition of The Wonderful Adventures of Nils. Recently, we discovered a very inexpensive, domestically produced edition and decided to take a look, thinking that a choice in cost would be a happy thing for many. I reviewed that book with trepidation, wondering if it was abridged from what I thought was the original. What a surprise -- it was the expensive copy that had excised much of Selma Lagerlöf's prose!! We have decided to discontinue the large volume in favor of this unpretentous edition that preserves every bit of the author's magic. It is the identical translation as our previous edition - but every word is intact. You and your children won't need large, color pictures, Selma Lagerlöf's words will transport you on clouds of imagination.

Now, on to the review:

Wonderful is just the right word for remarkable story. Selma Lagerlöf was already one of Sweden's most renowned authors when she was asked to create a new reader for Swedish schools. What she fashioned broke all the rules - no more disconnected little stories, no more reading for the sake of learning to read! No, she brought her full talent as an outstanding storyteller to bear on the project and created a 17 chapter book that told children a tale from beginning to end. The Wonderful Adventures of Nils is that book, and it is just as delightful today as it was at the turn of the century when it was written.

Nils is a boy who can think of no one but himself. This so annoys a dwarf that he shrinks Nils as punishment for his selfishness. Tiny Nils finds himself carried off by a flock of geese on their way to the far north. Through his long adventures to get back home, Nils learns to know and respect both humans and the life of nature. As they fly over the countryside with Nils, children will discover an abundance of information about nature, geography, folklore, animal life and more. Ages 7 to 11

A Little Princess

Frances Hodgson Burnett

Illustrated by Tasha Tudor

Hardbound, dust jacketed with beautiful color and black & white illustrations


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Another of our "family favorites," A Little Princess holds a very special place in our hearts. This is also my favorite edition, beautifully illustrated by Tasha Tudor and typeset with an impeccible sense for readability and graceful form.

When Sara Crewe arrives at Miss Minchin's London boarding school, she seems just like a real little princess. She wears beautiful clothes, has gracious manners, and tells the most wonderful stories. The one day, Sara suddenly becomes penniless. Now she must wear rags, sleep in the school's dreary attic, and work for her living. Sara is all alone, but she keeps telling herself that she can still be a little princess inside, if only she tries hard enough. Of course, Sara Crewe does survive her hardships and finds happiness once again -- and that is why we keep reading it year after year and pass it along for the next generation to enjoy!

Ages 9 and older.

The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett

Hardbound with Ribbon Bookmark
Illustrated by Tasha Tudor



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We felt that this favorite, wonderful story should be available to children in a volume that reflects its joy and wonder. We were delighted to find that the hardbound edition illustrated by the inimitable Tasha Tudor was still available - this is the one our children grew up with. We're sure you'll love it, too. The Secret Garden tells the story of a girl named Mary who has been so "neglected with abundance" (my term) that by the age of 10 she is perhaps the most self-centered child anyone could imagine. Fortunately, she meets two friends, her cousin Colin who may be the one person in the world as selfish as she is, and Dickon, a sturdy, goodhearted lad of the moors. Together, they revive a garden long neglected and in so doing, Mary and Colin find their hearts. A story to grow up with and pass on to the next generation.

Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of all Ages

Selected by Harold Bloom



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I actually don't like the title of this book at all, but I love what's inside it. This is simply one of the very best - perhaps the very best - anthologies of "literature gathered with children in mind" ever to be published. Period. I used the phrase "literature gathered with children in mind" because many of the gems collected here are not what is commonly called "children's literature." Yet all are captivating, imaginative gems that will enthrall and delight children of all ages - the sort of stories and poems that stay in the heart for a lifetime. That convey, almost by osmosis, the joy of language, the delight of word-pictures. As such, I'm quite willing to overlook the one-sidedness of the title in favor of opening the covers and

The inside flap of this remarkable book does such an outstanding job of describing both the editor's intent and the contents, that I'm going to share it with you here.

"If readers are to come to Shakespeare and to Chekhov, to Henry James and to Jane Austin, then they are best prepared if they have read Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, Robert Louis Stevenson and Rudyard Kipling," writes Harold Bloom in his introduction to this enchanting and much-needed anthology of exceptional stories and poems selected to inspire a lifelong love of reading. As television, video games, and the Internet threaten to distract young people from the solitary pleasures of reading, Bloom presents a volume that will amuse, challenge, and beguile readers with its myriad voices and subjects.

Here are old favorites by beloved writers of children's literature, as well as exciting rediscoveries and wonderful works penned by writers better known for their adult classics, such as Herman Melville, Leo Tolstoy, Edith Wharton, and Walt Whitman. Encompassing the natural world and the supernatural; childhood, romance, and death; house pets, wild animals, and goblins; mystery, adventure, and humor, the selections reflect the passion and erudition of our most revered literary critic. Dismayed by the current state of children's literature, Bloom reaches back to the imaginative works of the nineteenth century and earlier, choosing poems and stories that will expand the mind and offer the magical companionship of the best that has been written. Arranged by season, Stories and poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages is a must-have anthology, sure to delight readers young and old for years to come.

There are several stories and lots of poems that are quite suitable as read-to's for ages 4 and up. The rest of this treasure can be read to children 5, 6, 7 or older - or presented to an 8 or 9 year old as an immensely elegant gift for their very own reading adventures - or you could just go off with a cup of tea and enjoy it yourself (though, personally, I'm hoping you'll share with your children, too!).

In Blue Mountains

An Artist's Return to America's First Wilderness

Thomas Locker

Hardbound, dust jacketed


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In Blue Mountains is about the love of nature and the importance of beauty. It tells the story of an artist who sets out to explore wilderness and discovers a new way of seeing. Bewildered at first by the profusion of nature, he gradually learns to see its wholeness and to trust his feelings. The story itself is a beautiful portrayal of nature, light and color. The juxtaposition of Locker's luminous paintings with the artist's experiences inspire a deep appreciation for the beauties of the world and for our human awareness in percieving them. A book for all ages, I recommend it especial for children 7 to 10 years old.


Sterling North


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Our family read Rascal many times over the course of our nightly family story time - it never lost its ability to captivate, charm and delight. Rascal is truly one of the best animal stories every written - and even better because it is a true story, told by an author who lived every wonderful minute of it.

Rascal is a baby raccoon, orphaned in the woods when the boy Sterling brings him home. Soon, Rascal is ready to join Sterling at swimming, fishing, and camping. He's also ready to initiate some of the most hilarious adventures of his own. The raccoon's unique approach to life fits right in with the home Sterling and his father share - a home where skunks, woodchucks, a crow named Poe and an 18-foot, half-finished canoe are resident in the living room!

Wonderful reading for everyone - as a read-to for ages 7 and up; read on their own from age 12.

The Jungle Book

Rudyard Kipling


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When Rudyard Kipling wrote The Jungle Book, he created a story of such endurance and vitality that more than 100 years later, children are still enthralled with these tales of the boy Mowgli who is raised by wolves in the jungles of India. From the wolves of the Seeonee Pack, who raise Mowgli to manhood and remain his brothers, to Shere Khan, the conniving lame tiger, to Bagheera, the black panther and Baloo the great bear who together educate Mowgli - all the animals of the jungle retain their animal character while giving us a glimpse of the wisdom of creation. Not to mention that as a storyteller, Kipling can keep you on the edge of your seat all the way through this book. Included also are several of Kipling's short stories, among them, "Rikki Tikki Tavi," a personal favorite. As a read-to-me for children 8 and older or for children 10 and older to read to themselves.

The Wind in the Willows

Kenneth Grahame

Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard



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Don't let the price tag fool you - this is the full-sized, unabridged original edition of The Wind in the Willows, complete with all the original Sheperd drawings. Introduce your children to all the wonderful creatures of the Wild Wood: Ratty, the river rat of upstanding courage and practicality; Mole, his loyal friend who's dreamy sweetness will warm your heart; dear Mr. Toad who has much more money than sense but whose generosity and openness of heart redeem everything; and Mr. Badger, the acknowledged authority of the Wild Wood whose gruff, no-nonsense ways are often just the ticket in a pinch. The Wind in the Willows is a treasured classic that will live in your heart always. If I were forced to choose only 10 books to give a child, this would be one of them.