In earlier posts we heard Aslan of Narnia and enjoyed visits from Winnie-the-Pooh and
The Ugly Duckling, thanks to my favorite writer and master storyteller, Hans Christian Andersen.
Today we explore the literary fairy tale, fantasy. It is a favorite medium of allegory.
No wonder it is my favorite type of children’s story. In fantasy, we see the pure imagination of Hugh Lofting’s Dr. Doolittle that, in mid twentieth century, was made into a film, originally with Rex Harrison and remade by Eddie Murphy.
Fantasy takes reality and extends it. And how we need it in a modern world!
I’d like to introduce two not-so-common stories to discover and share with our children while mentioning one of Andersen’s famous stories.
Travers, P.L. Mary Poppins Opens the Door. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1943.
“The Marble Boy”
With Mary Poppins, Michael and Jane had no ordinary walk. At the lake, the children notice an old man reading Just So Stories, ladies wheeling prams, and children skipping along. Then they notice a statue of a marble boy with his dolphin. It is the mythological figure, Neleus, looking longingly at the water. The Banks children end up having great fun and adventures with their new friend while the people at the lake speak to the marble boy and acting like nothing out of the ordinary is happening! Discover what they found in your library, through Amazon, or in audio in www.bookdepository.com
Clarke, Pauline. The Return of the Twelves. New York: Coward-McCann, 1962
“The Four Genii”
Pauline Clarke’s book is a story within a story about famous storytellers! Her book title references what Branwell, the only brother of the Brontë sisters, wrote, History of the Young Men, about the imaginary adventures of wooden soldiers. The book chapter,“The Four Genii” refers to the Brontë children: Branwell, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. The protagonist in The Return of the Twelves, Young Max, finds twelve of Branwell’s soldiers in an attic of his Yorkshire home, not far from Haworth, the former Brontë family home. Max’s affection for the soldiers brings them to life; they freeze around others. The soldiers tell Max of the time a century ago when the four genii loved them and imagined wonderful adventures for them.
Talk about peeling an onion! But, great fun to read. Find it on Amazon, in your friendly library, or through Goodreads.
I’ll finally leave you to reread The Nightingale, Hans Christen Andersen’s beautiful story about the sweet and haunting music this bird sings and how it taught wisdom to an emperor.
Fantasy allows us to reach into new worlds so that our sense of wonder can continue.
Next time, I’ll reflect on another fantasy. Until then, may your visits with these stories bring new knowledge, unearthed treasure, and much happiness to your minds and hearts.