Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Our Favorite Anthologies

I love to read to my daughter, and my daughter loves to be read to. I often find that the best way to satisfy this growing love of books is with the use of anthologies. Anthologies give more story for my dollar and take up less space. I've also found that my daughter often will go to these books first as well (not always, but at least half the time).  This past month I decided to add to our little book collection. While at the book store, I found this anthology on the bargain table with stories like Courdory and Madeline, as well as a handful of others. I was very disappointed to find that most of the stories were poorly abridged. I understand that anthologies that are 100% unabridged are pretty rare, and that's fine, but if you are going to abridge a story, at least make sure you abridge it in such a way that it can stand as its own story. This book failed miserably at it. For example, the general gist of Madeline was that Madeline had to go to the hospital and stay overnight, so the headmistress lady woke up because something wasn't right, asked the children what was wrong: they were worried about Madeline...so she went back to bed and "that's all there is. There isn't anymore."

Even though my daughter is still quite young, I still require that stories at least make sense in their own. For Madeline to make sense, the headmistress has to offer some sort of words of comfort or wisdom. So I returned the book, and set out on a mission to find a better anthology for our collection. I also developed a deeper appreciation for the anthologies we already have!

If you are looking for some anthologies to read with you children and would like the stories to make sense, here are some of our favorites.

3. The World Treasury of Children's Literature

These two volumes of the World Treasury of Children's Literature contain a great variety of stories, most of which appear to be fairly unabridged. There are not a lot of pictures, but the pictures included are wonderful. These books also have poems and just a great variety of stories in general. In spite of the limited pictures, Pumpkin does indeed enjoy these stories.

2.  Disney Anthologies

I grew up on Disney, so I love reading these to my daughter. The pictures are always amazing, and I love the stories, as does Pumpkin. The anthology that has the original stories are abridged, but they still make sense. Our favorite Disney anthology that we got so far is 5-Minute Snuggle Stories.  In 5-Minute Snuggle Stories all our favorite characters go on new adventures. Since the stories are specifically written for the anthology, they all make sense and nothing feels like it is missing. 

1.  100 Classic Stories

This is our newest addition to our book collection and I am quite happy with it.  As the title suggests it contains classic stories like The Three Little Pigs and The Princess and the Frog, as well as Cimderella and other princess stories. The stories are not original, unabridged but they make sense on their own. Cinderella, for example follows pretty closely with the Disney movie, but leaves out Cinderella being friends with the mice and other of the more minor details. Often the stories are further watered down or contain some sort of moral or karma twist at the end. The prince in Cinderella makes the ugly step sisters do dishes once a week in the palace kitchen, for example. In the Princess and the Frog, the princess does not have to kiss the frog, only be nice to the frog. If you set aside the expectation for the stories to be the true classics, they are fun stories that I have no problem reading to my daughter. I would have preferred the originals, but these stories work well enough for now. Also I find the pictures to only ok-really they aren't bad, but I prefer a different style of picture.