Jan 16, 2009

The Story Behind Modern Books

by Elizabeth Rider Montgomery

I picked up this little old book at random one day, and sat down to read it last night. It was very interesting. The Story Behind Modern Books contains accounts of how many popular children's books of its era came to be written. A lot of the books discussed were familiar to me: Babar, The Story About Ping, The Little House. Others I'd heard of but have never read: Andy and the Lion, Rabbit Hill . And some were completely obscure to me: Honk the Moose by Phillip Stong, Shuttered Windows by Florence Means. I enjoyed reading about the origins of a few of my childhood favorites- some, like Make Way for Ducklings, were very carefully planned out and researched, others, like Mary Poppins, came from the author's sudden inspiration one day. Many originated from stories the authors made up to tell their children (Babar is one). Quite a few of the accounts told how an author or illustrator's career changed paths: Virginia Lee Burton, who wrote The Little House, was first studying to be a ballet dancer and Mary O'Hara of My Friend Flicka composed music, before events in their lives moved them to write. If you've ever wondered about what was behind those childhood classics, this book is a nice little resource. It discusses thirty-seven books in all. There are six other titles in the series, but I don't know if I'll ever come across any more of them.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 208 pages, 1949

More opinions at:
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Megan said...

This book sounds right up my alley. I love reading about children's literature. Thanks for talking about this book. I hope I am able to track it down at some point.

Bybee said...

This is the kind of stuff I looooove. Thanks for the review and GREAT find!

Anonymous said...

How have I missed this? I love books about the "backstory"! Definitely going to get ahold of a copy.

I tagged you for the bookshelf meme over at 'Across the Page.' :-)


Dana said...

Sounds very inbteresting

SFP said...

I hope I can lay my hands on a copy of this. Thanks for the review.