by Johanna Spyri, Elizabeth P. Stork (Translator), Maria L. Kirk (Illustrator)
Publisher: J.B. Lippincott Co.
©1923, Item: 93075
Hardcover, 297 pages
Not in stock

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The story of Vinzi is one of the freshest and most attractive to be found in modern literature, yielding not at all to the author's better-known Heidi. It is sure to delight all children and as many of their elders as have retained their youthful sympathies. The revival of other stories by Madame Spyri has shown that her simple charm never fails to win an increasing audience, but in Vinzi her gift is positively at its best. In none of her books is the interest centered and sustained more perfectly.

There are few things more enjoyable or profitable for children than to learn how children live in other countries. It stimulates their imaginations and enlarges their emotional powers in the healthiest manner possible. For this purpose the Swiss background of Madame Spyri's books is particularly good, with its flood of sunlight over Alpine peaks and flowery meadows. And as the background, so the people; there is an unforced kindliness and heartiness in the characters that makes them lovable in a special way of their own. Their foibles and limitations merely increase the genuineness of their appeal.

Two themes are stressed in Vinzi, trust and the power of music. Both of these are timely today. We hardly need Monsieur Coué to tell us that a brave confidence in the future is one of the most valuable qualities of character, especially for a child. Philosophers, both theoretical and practical, dilate on the importance of freeing ourselves from fear and discouragement as early in life as possible. This is just what the story of Vinzi tends to do by presenting the small hero as a natural example of the well-known principle. No less practical is the influence of good music upon children, the value of which is just beginning to be properly recognized in school and home.

But no moralizing ever interferes with the course of the narrative, which flows along with a delicate intuition as to suspense and climax. The boy Vinzi's love of music and his father's determination to make a farmer of him provide the central motive. It is noteworthy that the father, who with a less skillful author would be the villain of the tale, is never made to lose our respect. But the best feature of the book is the joyous life of the children, which occupies by far the most space. Madame Spyri's panacea for the ills of life is an old one, but it is doubtful whether anything better can be found than her combination, which is: Faith in God, active helpfulness toward all around, love of beauty, fresh mountain air, and good food. Surely so much happiness has seldom been packed within the covers of a children's book as may be found in Vinzi.

Charles Wharton Stork

from the book

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