Saturday, October 24, 2009

"A Rattling Good Story"

Collecting old books seems like something I ought to do, being who and what I am. Maintaining old books seems to be a lot of work, though. I've heard they require special storage. Plus, I'm not seriously into the scent of mold and mildew.

However, I have acquired a nice little stash of old children's books, all of which came from family members. Last weekend while visiting our homebound family member, his wife took me into a room and said, "You want any of these books?"

Why, yes, Ruthie, I'll just help myself to these few you and your parents held on to for, in some cases, the better part of a century. Or more.

Now I am the proud owner of, among other things, Two Young Inventors by Alvah Milton Kerr, published in 1904. Publishers Weekly said of it, "Here is a rattling good story. Mr. Kerr has written a tale of mystery, mechanism and getting on in the world that will be a boys' favorite for years."

The Bookman went into more detail. "An exciting tale of two youths who secure a mechanical education as a result of their efforts to construct a flying-boat that will rise in the air, as well as skim the water. During a stirring experience they render an important service to the North Shore Railroad, for which they are rewarded by positions in the department of engineering."

"Getting on in the world" is an interesting phrase. Maybe good children's books should be about "getting on in the world."

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