How Did Long John Silver Lose his Leg?: and Twenty-Six Other Mysteries of Children's Literature [Paperback]

Dennis Butts (Author); Peter Hunt (Author)

ISBN: 9780718893101 | Published by: Lutterworth Press | Year of Publication: 2013 | Language: English 154p, 13 B&W images
Status: In Stock - Available

How Did Long John Silver Lose his Leg?


How did Long John Silver Lose His Leg?' is a diverting tour through some of the bestloved classics of children’s literature, addressing many of the unanswered questions that inspire intense speculation when the books are laid down. Could Bobbie’s train really have stopped in time ('The Railway Children')? Did Beatrix Potter have the ‘flu in 1909, and did this lead to a certain darkness in her work ('The Tale of Mr Tod')? Would the ‘rugby football’ played by Tom Brown be recognised by sportsmen today ('Tom Brown’s Schooldays')? The authors speculate entertainingly and informatively on the anomalies and unexplained phenomena found in children’s literature and, having established the cultural importance of children’s books in the modern age, also consider the more serious issues raised by the genre. Why are we so defensive of the idyllic worlds presented in children’s books? Why have some of our best-loved authors been outed as neglectful parents to their own children? Should we ever separate the book from its creator and appreciate the works of writers convicted of crimes against children? A treat for any enthusiast of children’s literature, two of the most distinguished writers on the subject provide rich detail, witty explication, and serious food for thought.

Table of Contents

1. Difficulties with Dates
Captain F. W. Marryat, The Children of the New Forest (1848) (DB)

2. I Suppose You Have Heard of the Tom Brown Question? Thomas Hughes, Tom Brown's Schooldays (1857) (DB)

3. Was Ballantyne Really Bothered About Cocoa-Nuts?
R. M. Ballantyne, The Coral Island (1858) (DB)

4. How often Does Charles Dodgson Appear in the 'Alice' Books?
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1873) (PH)

5. What Did Mr March Do in the War Between the States?
Louisa M. Alcott, Little Women (1868) (DB)

6. How Long John Silver Lost his Leg and Acquired a Parrot
R. L. Stevenson, Treasure Island (1883) (DB)

7. The Moon, the French Chef and the Missionary: Textual Revisions by Rider Haggard
H. Rider Haggard, King Solomon's Mines (1885) and Allan Quatermain (1887) (DB)

8. How did Bevis Grow Ten Years in 58 days?
Richard Jefferies, Bevis (1888) (PH)

9. How Much Gold Was in Pevensey Castle?
Rudyard Kipling, Puck of Pook's Hill (1906), Rewards and Fairies (1908) (PH)

10. Would Bobbie's Train Have Stopped in Time?
E. Nesbit, The Railway Children (1906) (PH)

11. Did Isabel Archer Meet Mr Toad?
Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (1908) (PH)

12. How Did Mary Get to Misslethwaite Manor?
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden (1911) (PH)

13. Did Beatrix Potter Really Suffer from 'Flu?
The Tale of Mr Tod (1912) (DB)

14. Why Did Wilfred Owen Change 'The Little Mermaid'?
(1912) (DB)

15. How Many Adults Are There in Winnie-the-Pooh?
Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928) (PH)

16. The Strange Disappearance of Europe: Why Didn't Children's Books Notice the Approach of Two World Wars? (PH)

17. How Old was the Great Aunt?
Arthur Ransome, Swallowdale (1931), The Picts and the Martyrs (1943) (PH)

18. Did John Masefield ever Meet Hitler or Stalin?
The Box of Delights (1936) (DB)

19. How Well Did George Orwell Really Know Billy Bunter?
'Boys' Weeklies', Horizon, 1940

20. Some Questions of Authorship
A. L. O. E., Mrs Herbert Strang, Dynely James and others (DB)

21. Exactly How Big Was the Little House in the Big Woods?
Laura Ingalls Wilder, 'Little House' Series (1932-1971) (DB)

22. Did Jennings Ever Grow Up or Learn Anything?
Anthony Buckeridge, Jennings Goes to School (1950) (DB)

23. Skating on Thin Ice: the Problems of Time in Tom's Midnight Garden.
Philippa Pearce (1958) (DB)

24. Does Anyone Really Write for Children? Lewis Carroll, J. M. Barrie, Beatrix Potter, Kenneth Grahame, Arthur Ransome, Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl… (PH)

25. Did the Line Really Hold?
Alan Garner, The Stone Book Quartet (1976-8) (PH)

26. The Mayne Incident: Do Writers for Children Have to be Nicer than Other Writers?
William Mayne (PH)

27. Who is Killing Cock-Robin? The Mysterious Death of the Children's Book (PH)

Reviews & Quotes

"‘The book takes a look at unanswered mysteries in the nation’s favourite children’s books, posing questions like whether Bobbie’s train in The Railway Children could really have stopped in time?’"
Caroline Cook
Reading Post (1st January 2014 )

"Their knowledge is encyclopaedic, this volume being a testament to their learning and achievements. […] throughout the collection Butts and Hunt employ approaches to reading which set the texts within social and historical contexts and thereby bring greater understanding. Their approach ensures that whilst ‘righting’ some misconceptions which might arise through the reading of children’s literature they have only increased the enjoyment for both the scholar and the casual reader. This collection is a must read!"
Prof. Jean Webb, Director of the International Forum for Research in Children’s Literature, University of Worcester
Prof. Jean Webb, Director of the International Forum for Research in Children’s Literature, University of Worcester (January 11th, 2014)

"…this collection of short, entertaining and informative essays makes this a light easy read for anyone with an interest in social history and children’s literature. It considers questions that, as a child, I would never have thought to ask, but the fun of having so many of these quirks of literature that we grew up with identified makes this book so entertaining."
Nigel Gossop
The Westerman Yarns (26th January 2014)

"The authors have put together a series of short articles on various famous and one-time famous "children's writers" including Stevenson, Kipling, Lewis Carroll, Beatrix Potter et al. [...] an interesting, if short, read "

The Haggard Journal (No.112, March 2014)

"...a fascinating book for older children and adults [...] The book is full of interesting facts and details about your favourite books."
Frances Burke-Gaffney
Children's Web Magazine ()

"It engages in just the kind of sleuthing in which many of us learned amateurs delight."
Avrum Lank
Mixed Moss: Journal of the Arthur Ransome Society (2014)

"...the longer I dwelt over each chapter the more I became fascinated and appreciative. For those interested in 'Mysteries of Children's Literature' this slim paperback will give them the most enjoyable time."
Judy Taylor
The Beatrix Potter Society Journal (Vol 132, April 2014)

"... Entertaining... A really Fascinating book."
Samantha Ellis
Times Literary Supplement (No. 5810 August 2014)

"Drawing on their encyclopedic knowledge of children's literature, the authors provide readers with the inside story on many classic works. "
Mark I. West
Children's Literature Association Quarterly (Summer 2015)

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