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!).