A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys

A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys

By: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Published by: Ticknor, Reed and Fields (Boston)
Publication Date: 1851
List: Not to Miss Read Alouds for Children Ages 7-9



The author has long been of opinion that many of the classical myths were capable of being rendered into very capital reading for children. In the little volume here offered to the public, he has worked up half a dozen of them, with this end in view. A great freedom of treatment was necessary to his plan; but it will be observed by every one who attempts to render these legends malleable in his intellectual furnace, that they are marvellously independent of all temporary modes and circumstances. They remain essentially the same, after changes that would affect the identity of almost anything else.

He does not, therefore, plead guilty to a sacrilege, in having sometimes shaped anew, as his fancy dictated, the forms that have been hallowed by an antiquity of two or three thousand years. No epoch of time can claim a copyright in these immortal fables. They seem never to have been made; and certainly, so long as man exists, they can never perish; but, by their indestructibility itself, they are legitimate subjects for every age to clothe with its own garniture of manners and sentiment, and to imbue with its own mortality. In the present version they may have lost much of their classical aspect (or, at all events, the author has not been careful to preserve it), and have, perhaps, assumed a Gothic or romantic guise.

In performing this pleasant task,—for it has been really a task fit for hot weather, and one of the most agreeable, of a literary kind, which he ever undertook,—the author has not always thought it necessary to write downward, in order to meet the comprehension of children. He has generally suffered the theme to soar, whenever such was its tendency, and when he himself was buoyant enough to follow without an effort. Children possess an unestimated sensibility to whatever is deep or high, in imagination or feeling, so long as it is simple, likewise. It is only the artificial and the complex that bewilders them.

Lenox, July 15th, 1851

From the book

Tanglewood Tales: For Girls and Boys, Being a Second Wonder Book

Tanglewood Tales: For Girls and Boys, Being a Second Wonder Book
By: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Published in 1853 by Ticknor, Reed and Fields (Boston)


A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls Reprint

A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls
Reprinted in 2021 by Living Books Library
Available formats: Hardcover, Paperback, Ebook
View on the Living Books Library site

This edition is presented complete and unabridged with both color and black and white images from several early editions.

A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys Reprint

A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys
Reprinted in 2009 by Yesterday's Classics
Reprint illustrated by Walter Crane
Available formats: Paperback
View on the Yesterday's Classics site
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