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A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys (Wonder-Books #1)

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3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  553 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
A Wonder Book is a collection of famous Greek myths beautifully retold and adapted for young readers. The collection consists of six tales: The Gorgon’s Head, The Golden Touch, The Paradise of Children, The Three Golden Apples, The Miraculous Pitcher, The Chimæra. This edition includes color illustrations by Walter Crane.
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Published June 19th 2012 by The Planet (first published 1852)
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My recent time with Hawthorne and Hawthorne scholarship has made me cautious about taking anything Hawthorne said about himself at face value, but I am inclined to agree with him when he remarked that The Wonder Book was some of his best work. I've read many re-tellings of classical myths for both children and adults, and I put Hawthorne's renditions among the very (very) best. His intention is not to remain faithful to the myths' ancient forms (at least not in any straightforward understanding ...more
Maninee
Sep 30, 2011 Maninee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greek-mythology
I have always been fascinated by Greek mythology and, unlike many of my peers, have been reading about it long before I even heard of the Percy Jackson series. Nathaniel Hawthorne's Tanglewood Tales was one of the first books that I had ever read on Greek mythology and nurtured my love for it. So when I saw the book on my school library shelf, I couldn't help picking it up.

This book was good read, though I must confess, I've read about most of the stories before from Roger Lancelyn Green's Tale
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Lmichelleb
Aug 14, 2016 Lmichelleb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For someone who forgets what little she was taught of Greek myths, this was a delightful reintroduction. I was completely ignorant of the stories of Perseus and the Gorgon's head, the miraculous pitcher, and Hercules' three golden apples. The rest were only vaguely familar. But I realize how much the themes of these old stories come up in more modern storytelling. I am convinced of the deep importance of reading these myths!

Hawthorne is a little too self-deprecating for me, and the introductions
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Gabi
Dec 27, 2016 Gabi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is the type that sits on ur coffee table, looking cool but never actually being read, and once you do read it, you're glad you did.

I enjoyed this book and it's telling of Greek myths. The writing was beautiful and in a very distinct style that required the reader to pay attention to what was being said. An interesting thing about this "Wonder Book" was that it had a main storyline besides the myths it told. I was not expecting this and so it was a pleasant surprise.

Overall this book wa
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Nicholas Kane
I've had this on my bookshelf for a few years now, and I originally picked it up because I love Greek myths. I tried to read this book at least two years ago but discarded it in favor of other reads. I figured I'd pick it up again since I've matured and it would be a short read for the end of the year. I found myself struggling to get through the book once again. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing bad about the Greek myths. Actually, the myths are the best parts of this book. The parts that had ...more
Skjam!
Sep 22, 2016 Skjam! rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kids who like mythology
Recommended to Skjam! by: Barnes & Noble sale
Tanglewood is a large country house out in the Berkshires which is owned by the Pringle family. They have a great many relatives with young children who often come visiting, and it frequently falls to their sole teenage relative, Eustace Bright, to entertain the younglings. It’s a good thing that young Mr. Bright knows many fascinating stories, and delights in the telling of them! Through the year, he regales his audience with tales of Greek mythology.

Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of the great Amer
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Rhys
Jan 02, 2016 Rhys rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recently I have been re-reading books that were important to me when I was young. I say "re-reading" but back then I rarely read them all the way through. I tended just to dip and skim. This time, decades later, I am reading them properly, from start to finish.

Nathaniel Hawthorne's A Wonder Book was possibly my first introduction to the world of Classical Myth (I can't be entirely sure about this). I remember that the stories made a great impression on me. The myths are retold with skill and cha
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Skedatt
Jun 09, 2014 Skedatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it. My kids (4 - 9yrs) loved it--they kept begging me to read it for longer. It makes an excellent read-aloud for all ages of children, since the stories are short enough (there are six in the book that take about an hour to read) and reworked enough to be perfect for children. They are not Disneyfied (considering that Hawthorne predates Disney by a fair bit of time but you know what I mean), but the myths are enjoyably and appropriately told (as compared to dry and boring) with a nice s ...more
Nick
The quest for a suitable imaginative literature for the formation of the young continues.
Hawthorne offers us a great option here. His creative re-tellings of some few Greek myths, bracketed between a lighthearted telling of the setting in which Hawthorne's rhapsode, Eustace Bright, is cajoled into telling a story to his younger companions, and a narration of the effect it had upon his audience as they stroll through the hills and ravines of their home range.
Hawthorne does take some liberties her
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Daniel
Apr 28, 2013 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In compiling this book, Hawthorne made an interesting selection of myths, choosing the tale of Perseus, that of King Midas, the parable of Pandora, one exploit of Heracles and sharing the experience of Philemon and Baucis as well as a retelling of Bellorophon's quest to mount Pegasus and slay the Chimera.

He brings in a Williams student telling the tales with a group of children in the Berkshires. Treacly at times and sanitized for a Nineteenth Century audience, the book does read well, with nice
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Nan
Nov 20, 2010 Nan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: quirky kids
Recommended to Nan by: self
Shelves: child-read
I got this book (A Wonder Book) years ago to read to my son. I could not read it to him because of the stilted-sounding language! My 7 year old son has now picked it up and absolutely loves both the Wonder Book and Tanglewood Tales. He doesn't complain about the language at all. Strangely, Tanglewood Tales is in the young adult section of the school library, and I had to write a permission note for my son to check it out. Sadly, neither of these books are on the "AR List" for school so he doesn' ...more
Maggie McCormack
Hawthorne's reinvention of classical Greek myths is framed around the adventures of a group of children in the village called Tanglewood. The tales are wonderfully told with quirks and sleights-of-hand that can keep an older audience as equally entertained as the targeted younger audience. The book offers more than just the re-telling of old tales; it provides insight into the coming-of-age of certain characters (Eustace, a college student; and Primrose, a preteen girl), as well as interesting c ...more
Courtney
Hawthorne, Nathaniel
Tales and Sketches

In compilation only.

1) Preface
2) Tanglewood Porch: Introductory to "The Gorgon's Head"
3) The Gorgon's Head
4) Tanglewood Porch: After the Story
5) Shadow Brook: Introductory to "The Golden Touch"
6) The Golden Touch
7) Shadow Brook: After the Story
8) Tanglewood Play-Room: Introductory to "The Paradise of Children"
9) The Paradise of Children
10) Tanglewood Play-Room: After the Story
11) Tanglewood Fireside: Introductory to "The Three Golden Apples"
12) The Three Gol
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Logan
May 16, 2011 Logan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned, own
These retellings of classic myths by Hawthorne didn't quite do it for us. We liked it at first, but then I realized I wasn't too keen on Hawthorne's changes to the myths and even though Logan reads many older books (e.g., E Nesbit, Kenneth Grahame, C.S. Lewis) the language in these stories was tedious for him. Turn of the century works for us, but 1850's seems too archaic for this 6-year-old. We kept meaning to go back to it, but I think we were both avoiding it. So I am officially abandoning it ...more
Rosa Folgar
I had no idea Nathaniel Hawethorne wrote children's books?! What I really loved about this book, and actually what brought it to my attention, was the Greek mythology in it. Hawethorne does an amazing job of telling classic tales while making them interesting and accessible enough that anyone can understand them. The character Eustace himself, is a little eccentric and prides himself on his story-telling abilities, even tho he uses the ruse of keeping the Tanglewood kids quiet in order to weave ...more
Frank Theising
May 07, 2016 Frank Theising rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
My wife purchased this audiobook, a popular retelling of several Greek mythological tales, for our daughters. My oldest is only 6 so they weren't quite able to make it all the way through the stories without multiple pauses to explain some of the details but they really enjoyed the stories nevertheless (and now knowing the stories, enjoy listening to it again on their own). Hawthorne's wonder book covers the stories of Perseus & Medusa, Midas, Pandora, Hercules, Quicksilver (Hermes), and Peg ...more
Amanda
Jan 02, 2016 Amanda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greek-myths
Had this book not been wrapped in plastic and I could have read the preface I wouldn't have purchased it. I have a fascination with Greek Myths, but the way Hawthorne changes these made the book honestly a pain to read. The preface warns the reader to these changes and excuses the language used. The title claims this is a children's book, but I would not agree. Hawthorne uses language that would confuse and bore most children. All in all I would not recommend this book and will probably not be k ...more
BookSweetie
Jan 10, 2011 BookSweetie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this classic children's book, Hawthorne retells several timeless Greek myths with his own nineteenth century touch. The illustrations by the gifted illustrator Arthur Rackham complement the tales perfectly. The language is clearly not modern -- possibly a deterrent for some readers-- but these touching and vivid versions still carry enough power to delight the right young -- and young at heart -- readers.
Jacob
Jul 19, 2016 Jacob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightful and satisfying. Hawthorne demonstrates the timeless nature of Greek myths, as well as how much more meaningful they may become at the hands of a creative, loving soul. In other words, Hawthorne was able to give these classic stories heart to animate their dormant souls. The story of Bellerophon's search for the pegasus (and the child's role in this search) was particularly moving. Highly recommended.
Odoublegood
Dec 18, 2009 Odoublegood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've just read this book again for the first time in decades (this is a Dover edition; the book is customarily known as A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys); now I want to find a copy of Tanglewood Tales, too. I still don't love the framing device, but I still do love the stories, especially the slaying of the gorgon and the story of Baucis and Philemon. I was entertained by the description of the breakfast served to King Midas.
Katie
Dec 16, 2015 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I realize the literary importance of knowing the Greek myths, I've never been a fan. They've always felt somehow flat to me. What Hawthorne has done here is enchanting and engaging. He has given these ancient characters and their stories depth and charm. This book is a wonderful way to introduce children to these myths, and I wish I had had the pleasure and privilege of reading them when I was young.
Drucilla
Aug 09, 2013 Drucilla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: h
Part of what makes this book great is the presentation. The book is gorgeous. Between the illustrations and the physical book, this is a book that you'd want to keep in your collection for a long time. Besides the appearance, the set up is great. The bookends for each story work really well and the way the stories are written provide a great introduction to Greek myth for children.
Gregory K.
Jul 26, 2012 Gregory K. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Hawthorne added his usual flowery touch to several classic Greek myths in this book. The myths though are very familiar and have not been told in a way that makes them any less boring to read if you have already read them. It might be a good book to introduce younger readers to these myths (which was the original intent of the book) but older readers may want to skip this one.
Mandi Ellsworth
Of course, Nathaniel Hawthorne is a brilliant writer, and even with the older-fashioned grammar and words, my children really loved these classic stories, retold by a master. The only issue they had was that they thought the chapters were too long and we occasionally had to stop mid-story. I, however, loved every page. It was brilliant.
Kate Berry
Over all, this was enjoyable, although the pieces about the kids could have been left entirely out. There were bits both before and after each myth retelling about these random children who were being told the story by their cousin, but it wasn't necessary and I found myself wanting to skim through them rather than enjoying them.
Pete
Jul 11, 2014 Pete rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-lit
Greek myths as told with Romantic flourish by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I read this with the boys, and they loved it. They even sat through Hawthorne's extended (like, really extended) Romantic depictions of the scenery---just to get back to the action of Hercules, Perseus/Gorgon, Bellerophon/Chimaera, etc. And through it all, I became more familiar with the myths myself!
Sarah Yazeid
Apr 08, 2016 Sarah Yazeid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a pleasant selection of stories!
I read this book as an introduction to Greek mythology (which I plan to delve into). I hope to read these stories to my children someday. My favorit story was Pandora and the Box of Troubles. I can't but love the allegory of that story!
Carl
May 22, 2008 Carl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cast-aways
uggg, this is why i (insert word that starts with H, is 4 letters long, implies strong dislike and is automatically censored by goodreads)books. try it out, spell h.a.t.e. wo/ the periods and see if it posts this is bullshit, i wonder what other things they are censoring
Krisette Spangler
Jan 25, 2010 Krisette Spangler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Hawthorne does a great job of retelling six tales from Greek mythology. My children and I enjoyed reading it together, and it gave them an itroduction to mythology. My daughter is standing here with me right now, and she wants you to know that she really liked it.
Mina
Jan 24, 2011 Mina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
الكتاب إعادة لسرد العديد من الأساطير اليونانية .. مثل صندوق باندورا، رأس ميدوسا و هي الأساطير التي عرفنا عنها الكثير من سلسلة ما وراء الطبيعه منذ سنوات ...
لم يقدم الكتاب جديداً سوى سلاسة الحكي مما يمتع لمن عرف و لمن لم يعرف تلك الأساطير
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Nathaniel Hawthorne was a 19th century American novelist and short story writer. He is seen as a key figure in the development of American literature for his tales of the nation's colonial history.

Shortly after graduating from Bowdoin College, Hathorne changed his name to Hawthorne. Hawthorne anonymously published his first work, a novel titled Fanshawe, in 1828. In 1837, he published Twice-Told T
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More about Nathaniel Hawthorne...

Other Books in the Series

Wonder-Books (3 books)
  • Tanglewood Tales: A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys
  • A Wonder Book and Tanglewood Tales

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“His stories are good to hear at night, because we can dream about them asleep; and good in the morning, too, because then we can dream about them awake. (Cowslip)” 10 likes
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