The right sort of books

by juno on May 30, 2010

The narrator—I will tell you, but you must let your children figure it out for themselves, that the “I” and Oswald are one and the same—of the second book about the Bastable Children explains:

It was very rough on Dora having her foot bad, but we took it in turns to stay in with her, and she was very decent about it. Daisy was most with her. I do not dislike Daisy, but I wish she had been taught how to play. Because Dora is rather like that naturally, and sometimes I have thought that Daisy makes her worse.

I talked to Albert’s uncle about it one day, when the others had gone to church, and I did not go because of earache, and he said it came from reading the wrong sort of books partly—she has read Ministering Children, and Anna Ross, or The Orphan of Waterloo, and Ready Work for Willing Hands, and Elsie, or Like a Little Candle, and even a horrid little blue book about the something or other of Little Sins. After this conversation Oswald took care she had plenty of the right sort of books to read, and he was surprised and pleased when she got up early one morning to finish Monte Cristo. Oswald felt that he was really being useful to a suffering fellow-creature when he gave Daisy books that were not all about being good.

—from The Wouldbegoods, by E. Nesbit

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