Friday, March 13, 2015

Book Review: Maminka's Children

Book Title: Maminka’s Children
        
Author: Elizabeth Orton Jones
        
Date: 1940
        
Publisher: Macmillan Company
        
ISBN: none, but click here to see the cover on Amazon
        
Length: 108 pages with some blank pages and uncredited colored pencil drawings
        
Quote: “All there is of the why of this book comes out of the love they gave me for Bohemian things and Bohemian ways and Bohemian people.”
        
“They” in this introductory story are two Bohemian hired women with whom Mrs. Jones grew up. The rest of the stories are fictional, based on stories the hired women told.
        
The stories are generic bedtime stories for very young children—more suitable for reading aloud to three-year-olds than for pleasure reading by eight-year-olds. They feature turn-of-the-century Bohemian customs and fashions. Some of the stories involve amiable little deceptions that will make them sound like magical tales to the three-year-olds, while the eight-year-olds will know they’ve been let in on secrets like why the goose’s singing sounded like an accordion and how the hen laid the colorful Easter egg.
        
Reading this book is meant to feel a bit like listening to stories a friendly cook might have told you if you were a small child in 1940, about things that seemed long ago and far away even then. Middle school students may feel talked down to. Adults may still be eligible to enjoy the nostalgia trip (Maminka's Children was still recommended to and anthologized for primary school readers into the 1970s), or may read or tell these stories to children.

This is a collector's book. I hadn't checked its current resale value online when I sold the copy I physically owned for $1. To buy it online here, you'll need to send salolianigodagewi @ yahoo.com $15 for the book + $5 for shipping, It would be pleasant if Elizabeth Orton Jones still had any use for $2, but that's no longer the case.