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For the Children's Hour Review by Melissa Theberge

By Carolyn S. Bailey and Clara M. Lewis
Yesterday's Classics
PO Box 3418
Chapel Hill, NC 27515

Originally published in 1906, this classic volume of children's stories and rhymes is as endearing as any modern collection, if not more so. The classic tales are teeming with moral lessons, examples of good character, and some playful stories just for fun too. Written for and dedicated to kindergarten children, this is ideal as a read-aloud collection, totaling 464 pages in all. The stories have a timeless charm, and the opening page not only explains the title but also inspires you to cuddle up with your children and read right away:

"Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations
Which is known as the children's hour."

This soft-cover volume includes 137 stories, myths and legends, folk tales, and Bible stories, divided into several themed sections as follows:

* Mother and Children
* The Home
* Food-Stuffs
* The Farmer
* Clothing
* Stories of Industry
* Fall: Preparation for Winter
* Winter: the Sky, Ice, and Snow
* Spring: Light, Water, Birds, Trees
* Summer: Flowers and Insects
* Thanksgiving
* Christmas
* St. Valentine's Day
* Stories of Heroism
* Easter
* Fairy Tales
* Fables

The first few sections included some very familiar stories sorted into themes I didn't expect. For example, "The Gingerbread Boy" is included in the Food-Stuffs section, and "Little Bo-Peep" can be found in the Clothing section. The stories themselves are well written, and there were numerous stories I was as yet unfamiliar with, including "Grandmother's Curtains," "The Tale of the Littlest Mouse," and "The Candles," among others. Illustrations are few, and for this reason, my young readers aren't inclined to simply pick up this book and look through it. But they are quickly engaged if I read aloud to them.

The last several pages of the book include a complete list of story sources, citing original authors, noting adaptations, and listing original works, which might lead to other good finds for family reading! We enjoy this book thoroughly. It has found a permanent home on our read-aloud bookshelf.

Product review by Melissa Theberge, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April 2009