This is the last Elswyth Thane I needed for my collection, and I held out until I found one with a more or less intact dustjacket:
It may surprise ElswThis is the last Elswyth Thane I needed for my collection, and I held out until I found one with a more or less intact dustjacket:
It may surprise Elswyth Thane's admirers to learn that in the publication of the two last Williamsburg books, Ever After and The Light Heart, she worked with a collaborator. He is a purple finch and his name is Che-Wee. He doesn't know he's a bird; he thinks he's people. He spends his winters in a New York apartment with Elswyth Thane and her husband, Dr. William Beebe, the famous naturalist, and his summers at their Vermont farm where he was born.
It was in a howling summer rainstorm that she found him lost and forlorn, too little to fly, too young even to know how to feed himself. He wasn't afraid when her warm hand closed over him in the rain. He liked the bread she pushed down his throat and the orange juice she fed him with an eye-dropper.
He had no cage, only branches fastened to the upper sills of all windows, and he made twittering, bustling flights from one end of the house to the other, turning corners with great dash and even learning to fly up and down stairs.
From the beginning he was literary. He perched on a picture frame and watched her at work. He sampled erasers and pencil points, and if drinking ink could have killed him he'd have been a dead bird long ago.
Nowadays he lights on the typewriter -- on the carriage-rod that turns up the roller -- and rides there, his feet wrapped firmly and his wings loose, ready to help him balance when the shift key jolts him, never flinching as the keys strike up close past his beak.
When Miss Thane writes with a pen he chases the point along the paper or lights on her pen holder and stays there. This requires a nice adjustment of balance on the part of both author and assistant -- and sometimes it rouses in Elswyth Thane the uneasy suspicion that Che-Wee can read. In the course of writing two plays and more than a dozen books she got along nicely without her manuscripts in detail with anyone, but now Che-Wee supervises her work from the first rough drafts to the examination of final proofs from the printer.
It appears he was very firm with her; it may even be that this book was his idea.
A pleasant story, although very dated, about a hard working black family in New York, including 6th grade Almena who plans to be a vet and longs for aA pleasant story, although very dated, about a hard working black family in New York, including 6th grade Almena who plans to be a vet and longs for a dog of her own. Although she lives in some kind of housing project where pets are not allowed, she is able to enjoy other people's dogs by walking them, caring for them, and in several instances, rescuing them. In addition, Almena encourages her classmates to "adopt" a class of disabled students, relocated to her elementary school after a fire. The language used to refer to these students is startling to modern ears but Almena leads the way in explaining to her family that they should be referred to as "Miss Seligman's Room, not The room for the handicapped children."
The book is interesting sociologically as I recall coming across very few books about black children in my childhood - a few about those dealing with integration, one about a girl going to nursing school. I remember reading and wondering from the illustrations if Jennifer was black but I couldn't tell....more