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Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages
by Harold Bloom
ISBN 0684868741 / 9780684868745 / 0-684-86874-1
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Apart from the Extremely Pompous title, and the heavy bent toward masculine authors, this collection of classics by the likes of Tolstoy, Edith Wharton, O. Henry, and Lewis Carroll is vastly impressive. And editor Harold Bloom does, of course, explain his title in the introduction. He believes that all the included authors "make themselves open to authentic readers of any age." Despising most "commercially offered" contemporary children's literature, Bloom offers up the greats: Edward Lear's "The Owl and the Pussy-Cat," Shakespeare's "Lion of Winter," Hans Christian Andersen's "The Red Shoes," and dozens upon dozens more, organized on a seasonal scheme. Here, readers of all ages can learn, grow, be entertained, reflect. Bloom quotes poet Wallace Stevens in his test for verse or prose: "it must change, it must give pleasure, and it must be abstract." Every one of these masterpieces of varying lengths is worthy of reading, rereading, and reading aloud--Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages would be wise to look beyond the title and devour this 573-page anthology, cover to cover.
Bloom is the author of more than 20 other books, including another tome on the art of reading, How to Read and Why. (All ages, of course) --Emilie Coulter [via]