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Good Stories for Holidays   By: (1872-1963)

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By Frances Jenkins Olcott

Index according to reading level is appended.


This volume, though intended also for the children's own reading and for reading aloud, is especially planned for story telling. The latter is a delightful way of arousing a gladsome holiday spirit, and of showing the inner meanings of different holidays. As stories used for this purpose are scattered through many volumes, and as they are not always in the concrete form required for story telling, I have endeavored to bring together myths, legends, tales, and historical stories suitable to holiday occasions.

There are here collected one hundred and twenty stories for seventeen holidays stories grave, gay, humorous, or fanciful; also some that are spiritual in feeling, and others that give the delicious thrill of horror so craved by boys and girls at Halloween time. The range of selection is wide, and touches all sides of wholesome boy and girl nature, and the tales have the power to arouse an appropriate holiday spirit.

As far as possible the stories are presented in their original form. When, however, they are too long for inclusion, or too loose in structure for story telling purposes, they are adapted.

Adapted stories are of two sorts. Condensed: in which case a piece of literature is shortened, scarcely any changes being made in the original language. Rewritten: here the plot, imagery, language, and style of the original are retained as far as possible, while the whole is moulded into form suitable for story telling. Some few stories are built up on a slight framework of original matter.

Thus it may be seen that the tales in this volume have not been reduced to the necessarily limited vocabulary and uniform style of one editor, but that they are varied in treatment and language, and are the products of many minds.

A glance at the table of contents will show that not only have selections been made from modern authors and from the folklore of different races, but that some quaint old literary sources have been drawn on. Among the men and books contributing to these pages are the Gesta Romanorum, Il Libro d'Oro, Xenophon, Ovid, Lucian, the Venerable Bede, William of Malmesbury. John of Hildesheim, William Caxton, and the more modern Washington Irving, Hugh Miller, Charles Dickens, and Henry Cabot Lodge; also those immortals, Hans Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, Horace E. Scudder, and others.

The stories are arranged to meet the needs of story telling in the graded schools. Reading lists, showing where to find additional material for story telling and collateral reading, are added. Grades in which the recommended stories are useful are indicated.

The number of selections in the volume, as well as the references to other books, is limited by the amount and character of available material. For instance, there is little to be found for Saint Valentine's Day, while there is an overwhelming abundance of fine stories for the Christmas season. Stories like Dickens's "Christmas Carol," Ouida's "Dog of Flanders," and Hawthorne's tales, which are too long for inclusion and would lose their literary beauty if condensed, are referred to in the lists. Volumes containing these stories may be procured at the public library.

A subject index is appended. This indicates the ethical, historical, and other subject matter of interest to the teacher, thus making the volume serviceable for other occasions besides holidays.

In learning her tale the story teller is advised not to commit it to memory. Such a method is apt to produce a wooden or glib manner of presentation. It is better for her to read the story over and over again until its plot, imagery, style, and vocabulary become her own, and then to retell it, as Miss Bryant says, "simply, vitally, joyously."


NEW YEAR'S DAY (January 1)

THE FAIRY'S NEW YEAR GIFT: Emilie Poulsson, In the Child's World

THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL: Hans Christian Andersen, Stories and Tales

THE TWELVE MONTHS: Alexander Chodsvko, Slav Fairy Tales

THE MAIL COACH PASSENGERS: Hans Christian Andersen, Fairy Tales


HE RESCUES THE BIRDS: Noah Brooks, Abraham Lincoln

LINCOLN AND THE LITTLE GIRL: Charles W... Continue reading book >>

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