Look who I ran into!

I wanted to put up something quick, and this book just happens to be sitting on my desk. I didn’t want to have to do scans or pics, so I searched images for the title. The returns were disappointing. I never would have thought The NOT Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish was a classic children’s Christmas story.

Added Dickinson’s name to the string, and what do you know? First hit! I’ve been blogging at Big Food etc. since 2011. Weird things turn up sometimes. Read the post. Will not repost it all here as I was in a self-described “foul mood” on December 11, 2018. The book is excellent; here are the goods parts. So from four years ago…


This is one of several– six, I think, I have four– Every Child Should Know books. Of course, many of the stories have not passed the test of time, given the times in which we live, but they do provide a window on the past which is something.

… but I’m ambivalent about “should.” 

On the one hand, every child should know “The Fir-Tree,” “The Legend of Babouscka,” and “Christmas at Fezziwig’s Warehouse” because that’s how culture works. On the other, who are you Dickinson and Skinner to tell every child what he should know? (Note that I do know who Dickinson* was, and if anyone could tell kids what stories they should know it would be him. But still.) 

Nice unassuming Preface:

Many librarians have felt the need and expressed the desire for a select collection of children’s Christmas stories in one volume. This book claims to be just that and nothing more.

Each of these stories has already won the approval of thousands of children, and each is fraught with the true Christmas spirit.

It is hoped that the collection will prove equally acceptable to parents, teachers, and librarians.

“[F]elt the need and expressed the desire.” I like that. Not terribly novel, but again, still.

Oh, please. This book is not worth $20-65. I don’t care what condition it’s in. 


Dickinson wrote “On Books and Reading,” introduction to the Pocket University Guide to Daily Reading.

As I said, just wanted to put up something quick.

4 thoughts on “Look who I ran into!”

  1. I just downloaded from PG.

    I have never read these stories, but to quote C.S. Lewis: “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” He also said: “no book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of 50 and beyond.” I fall between those two ages, but I take the point.

    1. They are good stories!

      Lewis: I am almost inclined to set it up as a canon that a children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story.The good ones last. A waltz which you can only like once while waltzing is a bad waltz.

      Do you have The Quotable Lewis? 600+ pages. “Absolute Values” to “Zeal.” Well-sourced, not just quotes. Comes in handy!

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