These are the kind of stories we all remember reading on gray afternoons, wearing sweatpants and sprawled on the floor, after having complained to Mom several bajillion times that we were bored. To which she invariably replied, "Go read a book. I'm busy." Why we always went to the old anthologies, typically from the 1950s and with covers as cracked and gray as the weather outside, was a mystery, because they never seemed appealing.
Until we started reading the stories inside. It was better than TV—tales of reckless Greek heroes, real-life Arctic explorers, animals who could talk and wear clothes (this never bothered us until we got older), foreign lands, horse races, etc., etc., etc. Okay, so maybe the pictures were a little hokey, and maybe all the facts weren't perfectly accurate, but these were good stories.
Keeping such vessels of imagination from our own children is little short of criminal. They need a place to forage their young minds, to stoke the fires of make-believe and ambition, and what better place than the pages of a short story anthology? Surely Sesame Street or Dora the Explorer won't have the same effect; no, lead kids to the source as a place of delight and awe, and they'll eat the fruit and drink the water because they want to.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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