Golden Age

Golden Age

by Kenneth Grahame, Maxfield Parrish (Illustrator)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Trade Paperback, 124 pages
List Price: $8.95 Sale Price: $7.61

A joy to read and reread, Kenneth Grahame's story of children is not a book designed purely for young readers. Thoughtful short stories about five endearing and creative siblings growing up in late Victorian England, the charming vignettes gently probe differences between children's and adults' perceptions of the world.

These youngsters are particularly confounded by the actions of adults who they perceive as stiff and colorless, with no vital interests or pursuits, and who lead apparently aimless lives. Young Harold, in sharp contrast, loves to play muffin-man, shaking a noiseless bell while selling invisible confections to imaginary customers. Brother Edward likes to crouch in a ditch where he becomes a grizzly bear and springs out in front of his shrieking brothers and sisters.

Grahame's enchanting reminiscences and inventions, based in part on his own Victorian childhood, are enhanced by the delightful illustrations of renowned American artist Maxfield Parrish. The book is a joyful work that parents will delight in reading along with their children.

Dover unaltered republication of the edition published by John Lane: The Bodley Head, New York and London, 1904. 19 plates of illustrations; 12 line drawings.

Table of Contents:

Prologue: The Olympians
A Holiday
A White-Washed Uncle
Alarums and Excursions
The Finding of the Princess
Sawdust and Sin
"Young Adam Cupid"
The Burglars
A Harvesting
Snowbound
What They Talked About
The Argonauts
The Roman Road
The Secret Drawer
"Exit Tyrannus"
The Blue Room
A Falling Out
"Lusisti Satis"
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  The Golden Age
Amanda Evans of Oregon City, 10/17/2008
More for the grown-up who is still young at heart than for little readers, The Golden Age is a picturesque tribute to childhood. Each chapter beautifully describes how five creative siblings see the world around them: a trickling stream can become a mighty river upon which Jason can go sailing in search of the Golden Fleece; all roads can?t lead to Rome, but the one that stretches firmly and steadily toward the horizon just might; and when one wriggles his way through a gap in a hedge and finds himself in a rich garden, he immediately looks around for the princess who must necessarily be somewhere within. This book is a good reminder for those of us who have arrived at those once strange and mysterious grown-up years not to let our cares and responsibilities make us blind to the wonders of the world around us and deaf to the children who would show them to us. Though this book is about children and their imaginative larks, I wouldn?t recommend that young children try to read it on their own unless they are well versed in Victorian English culture. There are too many allusions to books and stories that are less familiar now-a-days than they were back then. Though Kenneth Grahame?s lyrical writing style has made this book an endearing classic, his descriptions are at times vague in a way that older readers will value but young readers will find frustrating. If read-aloud, however, the whole family would be able to appreciate the musical text and amusing antics. Making me laugh at times and sympathize at others, this book always helped open my eyes to see the beauty and possibilities all around me. I also appreciated that, though this book is reminiscing about a bygone time, it doesn?t mourn that such times must come to a close. The Golden Age of childhood must end someday and we have to step up and face our responsibilities. But we would do well never to loose that child-like openness, ?for of such is the kingdom of heaven.? (Matt. 19:14)