Children’s books and Eleanor Cameron

05Feb10

The Green and Burning Tree

As I was writing my first post for this blog and realized that I should include a short list of some of the books I most loved as a kid and young adult, I realized that the list wouldn’t be complete without the Mushroom Planet books, by Eleanor Cameron. Eleanor Cameron is not only a children’s author, but a distinguished literary critic and author of two books of essays on writing for children, The Green and Burning Tree: On the Writing and Enjoyment of Children’s Books, and The Seed and the Vision: On the Writing and Appreciation of Children’s Books. They are insightful, beautifully written and heartily recommended.

I can’t remember how old I was when The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet first came into my hands–it came out in 1954–but I remember falling in love with it from the first page. I think I was about 8, because the want ad at the bottom of the first page spoke to me as much as it did to the protagonist, David:

Wanted: A small space ship about eight feet long, built by a boy, or by two boys, between the ages of eight and eleven. The ship should be sturdy and well made, and should be of materials found at hand. Nothing need be bought. No adult should be consulted as to its plan or method of construction . . .

The books are out of print now, I think, but are available from Amazon, Half and B&N. I promise I’ll talk more about them in a future post.

cover image from Amazon.com

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