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The Story of Mankind
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Newbery Archive > Winner & Honors from 1922

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message 2: by Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish, Newbery Club host (last edited Nov 20, 2013 10:22AM) (new)

Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
Did you read them? Do you remember any of the ideas discussed in the group when we read them together? Did you write any reviews that you would be willing to copy to this thread?

This thread will not close - feel free to add thoughts, questions, etc. now or in the future.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
My review of The Story of Mankind:
Didn't read this, just thumbed through it out of curiosity because it's the first winner of the Newbery. The updates, fyi, don't appear to fix the original, but rather just tack on new stuff at the end. It does seem to be charming and interesting enough to deserve accolades *in context* of its time and place. However, there are too many errors, too much Euro-centrism, etc. for it to have much value to modern children. I enjoyed thumbing through it but would not encourage my children to read it.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
And that's the only one I managed to read. I might try to read or skim some of the others if I can find them on the Gutenberg Project or some such. Meigs' book is most likely to be of value & interest still, I'm guessing.


message 5: by Tricia (new)

Tricia Douglas (teachgiftedkids) | 312 comments I think we read The Windy Hill for the old Newbery group. That's about all I'm familiar with in this year's grouping.


message 6: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7659 comments Mod
Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "My review of The Story of Mankind:
Didn't read this, just thumbed through it out of curiosity because it's the first winner of the Newbery. The updates, fyi, don't appear to fix the ..."


I have not read this either and probably would not be able to get a copy anyhow (one reason I had not been participating is that the older Newbery books except some of the more well-known ones are really difficult to get in Canada even through ILL because our library's ILL only deals with Canadian libraries). But in my opinion, I think that the "Story of Mankind" might be of use in middle grade or even high school history classrooms, especially if covering Euro-centrism or if comparing modern philosophies regarding world-history with late 19th, early 20th century attitudes (but if I had children, I would not likely simply get the book for them and would only even consider the book suitable for children if read with both guidance and discussion).


message 7: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) The Old Tobacco Shop and The Great Quest are available for Kindle as free, open-domain books on Amazon. I have downloaded both, but have not read them yet.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
The Story of Mankind as a sort of 'meta-history' if you will... good idea, Gundula.

Thanks for the reminder, Carolien. I haven't looked for all the titles yet, but The Old Tobacco Shop: A True Account Of What Befell A Little Boy In Search Of Adventure is indeed on gutenberg.org and I'm ready to start it soon. It's just such an interesting title for a children's book, imo....


message 9: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) If you'd like to do a buddy read on that one, I'd be happy to join you. I'm away for the next two weeks, but can start second week in December.


message 10: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5935 comments Mod
Thanks for getting all this established again, Cheryl! And thanks to those sharing their thoughts/memories about previous reviews and discussions, and for sparking new ones! I was never very active in the Newbery Club but I'm so glad it is thriving anew!


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
Thank you, Carolien! (Let's see, that means I can start on my b'day... should be able to remember...)


message 12: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) That will be fun. It's my birthday month as well!


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
:smiles:


message 14: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "Thank you, Carolien! (Let's see, that means I can start on my b'day... should be able to remember...)"

Hope you had a lovely birthday Cheryl! Would you like to start reading this one soon?


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
I'm ready, yes, I was thinking about starting today, actually. I suspect that it's short and will take me only a day or two.

Say, I just made the connection - since you're in SA, you actually have a 'summer' b-day - congratulations!


message 16: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) Thanks so much - yes it's lovely (although it is pouring with rain every day at the moment). It looks quite short, so shouldn't take long.


message 17: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (last edited Dec 11, 2013 01:52PM) (new)

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2472 comments Mod
Many years ago, I started reading The Story of Mankind, but I never did finish it. I simply find most history books dull and boring, even if they are written in a lively, upbeat style. And, in my opinion, there were so many other more interesting books to read at the time, that I did not want to spend time reading that very long book.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
I started The Story of Mankind when the group read it, and did not get far into at all before giving up. I just can't believe children would have enjoyed it, even back in the day when there weren't so many other choices.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
Ok, I'm about 1/2 done with The Old Tobacco Shop: A True Account Of What Befell A Little Boy In Search Of Adventure. A very strange story. Mostly funny. If it were written now, I'd call it a satire of magical adventure stories.

I'm finding it a bit slow, especially at the beginning as it 1.) started out as if it were going to be too twee, and 2.) is, in many ways, a product of it's time & place, and so there are allusions I need to decipher and research that children of the time would have understood immediately.

Or maybe not. There's a reference to 'capstans fluttering in the breeze' - but I checked, and indeed capstans could not flutter... so that was part of the humor. But would a child then know what capstans are and get the joke?

Also, I question the age of little Freddie. At the beginning of the book he can only say his name as 'Fweddie' but then feels so grown-up when he can pronounce the 'r.' Do any of you know how old children are when they accomplish this enunciation?


message 20: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) I've started it, and I agree it starts slowly, but seems charming.

I tested "Freddie" on my two daughters. The 6 year old can say it perfectly, the 4 year old is not quite there, but it is better than "Fweddie".

Not sure if a child would understand the capstans.


message 21: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments I have known second and third graders with speech difficulties that can't pronounce the r sound. Typically it comes around age four to five, I believe (although I am not a speech pathologist, but I remember asking a friend who is if it was normal for my four year old at the time not to pronounce the r correctly and she said yes.). But with speech delays or speech impediments it can come later. I have a second grader in my class now who can't say the r sound.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
Ok, thanks. So, I'm guessing Freddie is about 6, or maybe 7, with the additional clues of what kind of things get his attention, how the adults relate to him, etc.


Possible Spoilers below:


Well, I did finish. It's a strange little story. Not sure what's going on. Is there some sort of spiritual allegory, with the quest, and the tower, and the lost & found treasure, and the false identities?

And what did the Newbery committee see in it?

It's well worth reading, and I highly recommend it - but it has to be 'sold' with the right strategy so the reader has a little bit of an idea what to expect. I'm not sure I was ready for something so different from other Newbery winners & honors. And I'm not sure what to say in my review.


message 23: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) I finally finished it. It started quite slowly, but it grew on me and I enjoyed their adventure once they got going.

There could very well be some allegory in the quest and the enchantment. The old Chinese curse of being careful what you wish for also applies.

I still haven't been able to figure out which age group the story was aimed at. Freddie is quite young, but the story is much too complex for a young audience. My daughter would struggle with the vocabulary.

Well worth reading, I agree.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
Oh I'm glad you found it worthy of your time!
Maybe the author hoped families would read this together, so there are elements intended to appeal to all ages, and the younger children could get help understanding it.


message 25: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) That may be the idea. It's a really nice adventure story and I will read it with my daughter when she is a bit older - perhaps about 8 or so. I'm going to recommend it to a friend with an 8 year old son and see what she says.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
Oh neat - I hope you remember to come back and let us know!


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
Here's a great source for anyone trying to get these older books that haven't made it to Project Gutenberg yet: http://digital.library.upenn.edu/

Meigs' book, for example, is here: http://digital.library.upenn.edu/wome...


message 28: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) This is brilliant, thanks Cheryl.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
Actually, I should admit that I was informed of this source by Michael, in this month's discussion of the 1940 Honor books. Thanks to him! :)


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