Cool: “7 Obscure Children’s Books by Authors of Grown-Up Literature”

Here’s a great list from Maria Popova ( list: “7 Obscure Children’s Books by Authors of Grown-Up Literature.”

It’s quite a list of literary names, isn’t it? I for one am very much looking forward to some day making my kids read James Joyce, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, Mary Shelley, Leo Tolstoy, and Oscar Wilde. Start with the children’s books, and we’ll work our way up from there.

I’ll guess that Eliot’s Book of Practical Cats is the least obscure famous-author-kids-lit book on this list (and the Twain one might be the funniest). The most interesting to me is going to have to be James Joyce’s The Cat and the Devil — “about the cat of Beaugency and a moral dilemma, a classic fable narrative mixing Irish wit with French folklore, shaken and stirred with Joyce’s extraordinary storytelling.” If used copies were selling for $80.00+, I’d be very tempted to add this one to the personal library.

I’ll always have a special fondness for Virginia Woolf, so worth mentioning —

“Virginia Woolf’s The Widow and the Parrot is, roughly, a tongue-in-cheek moral story about kindness to animals and though Quentin, Woolf’s older nephew, bemoaned it as a disappointment and “a tease…based on the worst Victorian examples,” devoid of Woolf’s typical subversive humor he had hoped for, it remains a sweet reflection of character, her taking the time to contribute to a small family pet project in the heat of her literary career.”

We Too Were Children, Mr. Barrie has an excellent rundown of this Virginia Woolf-penned children’s book; with some enjoyable Virginia Woolf trivia: “What might have been more startling than the text even, was the revelation shown in a reproduction of the first page of the holograph, that Woolf was the story’s first illustrator.”


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I run the ThinkLab at the University of Cambridge, and research digital habits, productivity, and wellbeing.

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