Princess Mary’s Gift Book – Done

Written by: on Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Finally finished the book. Took too long. Some of the short stories were neat but some of the others were boring.

Princess Mary’s Gift Book (1914)
140 pages
Hodder & Stoughton

List of Stories: (Bolding the ones I liked!)
A Holiday in Bed – J. M. Barrie
The Spy – G. A. Birmingham
Charlie the Cox – Hall Caine
Canada’s Word – Ralph Connor
Bimbashi Joyce – A. Conan Doyle
The Ant-Lion – J. H. Fabre

An Angel of God – Ellen Thorneycroft Fowler
A Model Soldier – Charles Garvice
The Land of Let’spretend – Lady Sybil Grant
Magepa the Buck – H. Rider Haggard
True Spartan Hearts – Beatrice Harraden
Big Steamers – Rudyard Kipling
A True Story from Camp – The Bishop of London
The Ebony Box – A. E. W. Mason
A Spell for a Fairy – Alfred Noyes
Out of the Jaws of Death: A Pimpernel Story – Baroness Orczy
What can a Little Chap do? – John Oxenham
Altogether Different – W. Pett Ridge
The Escape – Annie S. Swan
Fleur-de-Lis – Kate Douglas Wiggin

The Cottingley Fairies

Written by: on Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

“How did this particular book end up in your collection?”

Well, it all started many many years ago when two girls decided to cut out paper fairies and take pictures of them! Seriously though, to start at the beginning… SciFi (Now SyFy) aired a movie titled “FairyTale: A True Story”. The movie is based around two little girls, Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, who take pictures of themselves with fairies. The mother takes the pictures to someone who decides that the photos must be genuine.

Before you know it, they’re caught up in a whirlwind that involves Harry Houdini, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, etc… People are trespassing on property to see fairies for themselves. Meanwhile the girls claim the faeries are true and the movie does touch on real fairies so the girls are real apologetic and so they make an offering by building some nifty house for them.

When I mentioned this movie to a friend, she instantly recognized it right away. The Cottingley Fairies. I don’t know if she saw the movie but she knew about the fairies and how it was so exciting and fascinating that such a phenomenon was able to happen at that period in time. I decided to hit Google and there was all this information about it. At some point, someone pointed out, “Hey! These faeries look just like some faeries right out of Princess Mary’s Gift Book.”

What was fascinating is that even though the girls confessed that the photographs were fake, they disagree on the final photograph (They took a total of five photographs). The final one doesn’t include either one of them. Frances claimed that the last photograph is genuine, and that they had actually seen fairies.

Last of Five Pictures. Genuine?

My friend thought the whole thing was downright fascinating (I’ll admit I did too after being surprised that Houdini and Doyle were actually swept up in it too – and not just something tossed in the movie to make it more dramatic).

I figured the neatest Christmas present I could give to her was the book that inspired some of the fairies. I went on eBay, kept track of several lots, and managed to nab one. It was in such perfect condition and even had a very old newspaper clipping tucked inside. I wrapped it up and sent it to her for Christmas. I thought it was so neat to have an old book that I decided to look on eBay again and I managed to nab one for myself. Unfortunately my copy was beat up but everything was still there.

I think it may be a bit difficult to find any information on Princess Mary’s Gift Book though. I was hoping to find the history on the book itself at some point but it’s so steeped into the Cottingley Fairies hoax.

Princess Mary’s Gift Book

Written by: on Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

I believe the most interesting book I have in my semi-small collection of books is the Princess Mary’s Gift book from 1915. Inside, it says:

All profits from sale are given to
which is acting in conjunction with
The National Relief Fund

This book has 14 tipped-in color plates:
1. J. J. Shannon, R.A. – frontispiece portrait of Princess Mary
2. Russell Flint, A.R.W.S. – A Holiday in Bed
3. Charles Napier Hemy – Charlie the Cox
4. R. Talbot Kelly, R. I. – Bimbashi Joyce
5. E. J. Detmold – The Ant Lion
6. Arthur Rackham, R. W. S. – “So nobody can quite explain Exactly where the rainbows end.”
7. Edmund Dulac – True Spartan Hearts
8. Norman Wilkinson, R.I. – Big Steamers
9. W. B. Wollen, R.I. – She stood and swung the lantern slowly from side to side.
10. Claude A. Shepperson, A.R.W.S. – A Spell for a Fairy
11. A. C. Michael – The Scarlet Pimpernel to the Rescue
12. Eugene Hastain – “He can march in the queue Of the Good and the Great, Who battled with fate And won through.”
13. M. E. Gray – Instructing her dolly in the art of going off nicely to by-byes.
14. Carlton A. Smith, R.I. – Fleur-de-Lis

Left – “A Spell for a Fairy” by Claude A. Shepperson

Right – “Big Steamers” by Norman Wilkinson

I have not read the book yet. I keep meaning to but I put it aside because it’s so old and I’m not sure it can handle being opened so many times. Now that I’m thinking about it, I might as well give it a try.

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

Written by: on Friday, October 15th, 2010

Yay! I didn’t think I’d ever finish this book. To start off with – I didn’t… really… like the book. My sister bought a box of books and while sifting through them all, the quote on the cover caught my attention. “The captivating novel of a boy’s magical summer.” It made me remember movies like “The War”, “Just Looking”, etc… Where the main character remembers a summer from their childhood many years ago. I figured the book would be a good read.

It starts in summer of 1928 with a young boy named Douglas Spaulding who makes the discovery that he’s alive. Then it becomes clear that the book is a collection of tales about people that live in Green Town. It’s just a flurry of characters coming and going to the point that I just couldn’t relate or care about them. domain webhosting info . It somehow relates to Douglas a lot or… whatever.

The beginning of the book was hard to read. I don’t want to say flowery language but it just got so wordy that I had no idea what the heck he was trying to say. It was like being in one of those tram tours. A good chunk of the ride was fine but there’s always those overgrown branches that keep rubbing up against the tram and even invading the inside and you’re left wondering why these people haven’t cut the branches back yet. After every page or two, I kept putting the book down. At last the book is done. fast domain Whew.

Dragons: A Natural History by Dr. Karl Shuker

Written by: on Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Front Jacket Illustration by Peter de SèveAfter seeing Beast Legend’s episode for the dragon, it reminded me that I had a certain book sitting around that contained information about dragons. My father actually spotted this book at some random yardsale one weekend and gave it to me as a surprise. I remember my first reaction was that I loved the dragon on the cover and then I just set it aside and completely forgot about it until that episode reminded me.

When I first started reading through this book, I’ll admit that it was slow. I’m thankful that he gave quick summaries when it came to stories on specific dragons but I didn’t really find it all that interesting. This book is split up into 5 chapters. Serpent Dragons, Semi-Dragons, Classical Dragons, Sky Dragons, and Neo-Dragons. Sometimes dinosaurs are brought up for comparison – such as people may have found a set of bones and believed they were dragons. Sometimes people claimed that certain beasts really did exist but went extinct. Stuff like that.

If I were to pick the top three that I liked, right away Quetzalcoatl would make the top of the list.  The dragons of China would be next. And then to finish it off, I thought the story of the Bunyip was quite odd. A man finds some young colt/calf and takes it home to his tribe. The mother Bunyip comes around and the entire tribe somehow gets turned into black swans? Creepy.