For young dreamers, nostalgic parents, and imaginative readers of all ages, this wonderful eBook collection not only contains five of the most beloved children’s books in the world but some of the most admired and enduring literature ever put to page. Each of these can be considered a “Household Book,” as A. A. Milne so affectionately described The Wind in the Willows—books that “everybody in the household loves, and quotes continually ever afterwards; [books which are] read aloud to every new guest.”
THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS
Written by Kenneth Grahame as bedtime stories for his son, The Wind in the Willows continues to delight readers today. Basing his fanciful animal characters on human archetypes, Grahame imparts a gentle, playful wisdom in his timeless tales. Few readers will be able to resist an invitation to join the Wild Wooders at Toad Hall, enjoy a quick splash in the river with Rat and Badger, or take a swerving ride with Toad in a “borrowed” motor-car.
ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND & THROUGH THE LOOKING-GLASS
Conceived by a shy British don on a golden afternoon to entertain ten-year-old Alice Liddell and her sisters, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass have delighted generations of readers in more than eighty languages. “The clue to the enduring fascination and greatness of the Alice books,” writes A. S. Byatt in her Introduction, “lies in language. It is play, and word-play, and its endless intriguing puzzles continue to reveal themselves long after we have ceased to be children.”
J. M. Barrie
Set in London and and the magical Neverland, J. M. Barrie’s tale of a boy who refuses to grow up has delighted generations of readers. In this novel, which Barrie adapted from his 1904 play, Peter introduces Wendy, Michael, and John Darling to the fairy Tinker Bell and the lost boys. Together, they do battle with Captain Hook and his fierce band of pirates.
THE THREE MUSKETEERS
First published in 1844, Alexandre Dumas’s swashbuckling epic chronicles the adventures of D’Artagnan, a gallant young nobleman who journeys to Paris in 1625 hoping to join the ranks of the musketeers guarding Louis XIII. He soon finds himself fighting alongside three heroic comrades—Athos, Porthos, and Aramis—who seek to uphold the honor of the king by foiling the wicked plots of Cardinal Richelieu and the beautiful spy “Milady.”
About Kenneth Grahame
Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. When he was not yet five, his mother died of scarlet fever, after which he was sent to his maternal grandmother's house at Cookham Dean near the Thames. His father virtually abandoned his children to relatives, and Kenneth was sent to boarding school in Oxford at the age of nine. Disappointed of his dream of going on to university, he was instead given a job as a clerk in the Bank of England, where ultimately he became Secretary. He achieved fame as a writer with his recollections of childhood, The Golden Age and Dream Days published in 1895 and 1898. The Wind in the Willows, turned down by several publishers as a poor sequel to the earlier books, began as a bedtime story told to his only child, Alistar, whose tragic death at twenty was so great a sorrow that he and his wife lived in eccentric seclusion thereafter. In a life of much sadness it seems that all he found pleasurable in this world he put into the best-loved children's book of all time.
About Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll is the pseudonym of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898). He wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for the amusement of eleven-year-old Alice Liddell and her two sisters, who were the daughters of the dean of Christ Church College, Oxford, where Dodgson taught mathematics. The book was published in 1865, and its first companion volume, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, followed in 1871.
About J.M. Barrie
Sir James Mathew Barrie was born on May 9, 1860, at Kirriemuir in Scotland, the ninth of ten children of a weaver. When Barrie was six, his older brother David died in a skating accident. Barrie then became his mother’s chief comforter, while David remained in her memory a boy of thirteen who would never grow up. Barrie received his M.A. degree from the University of Edinburgh in 1882 and began working as a journalist. In 1885 he moved to London, and his writings were collected in Auld Licht Idlls (1888) and A Window in Thurns (1889), which, together with a sentimental novel, The Little Minister (1891), made him a best-selling author. In 1894 he married an actress, Mary Ansell, but the marriage was profoundly unhappy, produced no children, and was dissolved in 1910. However, a favorite Saint Bernard dog of Mary’s later became the famous Nana of Peter Pan. In 1897, with the adaptation of The Little Minister, Barrie became a successful playwright, writing the plays The Admirable Crichton (1902), What Every Woman Knows (1903), and Peter Pan (1904), which was produced in 1904 and revived in London every Christmas season thereafter. While the figure of Peter Pan first appeared in Barrie’s book The Little White Bird (1902), the story and the concept began in the tales Barrie told the sons of Mrs. Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, a woman Barrie loved. Barrie then published the story of Peter Pan in book form as Peter and Wendy (1911). The best of Barrie’s later works is Dear Brutus (1917), a haunting play that again brought the supernatural and fantasy to the London stage. Barrie died in 1937, bequeathing the copyright of Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, a hospital for children.
About Alexandre Dumas
Alexandre Dumas (père) lived a life as romantic as that depicted in his famous novels. He was born on July 24,1802, at Villers-Cotterêts, France, the son of Napoleon’s famous mulatto general, Dumas, His early education was scanty, but his beautiful handwriting secured him a position in Paris in 1822 with the du’Orléans, where he read voraciously and began to write. His first play, Henri III et sa cour (1829), scored a resounding success for its author and for the romantic movement. Numerous dramatic successes followed (including the melodrama Kean , later adapted by Jean-Paul Satre), and so did numerous mistresses and adventures. He took part in the revolution of 1830 and caught cholera during the epidemic of 1832, fathered two illegitimate children by two different mistresses, and then married still another mistress. (The first of these two children, Alexandre Dumas, [fils], became a famous author also,) His lavish spending and flamboyant habits led to the construction of his fabulous Château de Monte-Christo, and in 1851 he fled to Belgium to escape creditors. He died on December 5, 1870, bankrupt but still cheerful, saying of death, “I shall tell her a story, and she will be kind to me.”
Dumas’s overall literary output reached over 277 volumes, but his brilliant historical novels made him the most universally read of all French novelists. With collaborators, mainly Auguste Maquet, Dumas wrote such works as The Three Musketeer (1843-44); its sequels, Twenty Years After (1845) and the great mystery The Man in the Iron Mask (1845-50); and The Count of Monte Cristo (1844). L’action and l’amour were the two essential things in life and his fiction. He declared he “elevated history to the dignity of the novel” by means of love affairs, intrigues, imprisonments, hairbreadth escapes, and duels. His work ignored historical accuracy, Psychology, and analysis, but its thrilling adventure and exuberant inventiveness continue to delight readers, and Dumas remains one of the prodigies of nineteenth-century French literature.
“The boastful, unstable Toad, the hospitable Water Rat, the shy, wise, childlike Badger, and the Mole with his pleasant habit of brave boyish impulse, are types of that deeper humanity which sways us all.”—Vanity Fair, on The Wind in the Willows
“Only Lewis Carroll has shown us the world upside down as a child sees it, and has made us laugh as children laugh.”—Virginia Woolf, on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
“Barrie wrote his fantasy of childhood, added another figure to our enduring literature, and thereby undoubtedly made one of the boldest bids for immortality of any writer. . . . [Peter Pan] is a masterpiece.”—J. B. Priestley, on Peter Pan
“I do not say there is no character as well-drawn in Shakespeare [as D’Artagnan]. I do say there is none that I love so wholly.”—Robert Louis Stevenson, on The Three Musketeers