Monday, April 02, 2012

The Children's Encylopaedia by Arthur Mee

I started to read rather late as child, having a grandmother who would read stories being the probable cause of the delayed start. When I did start to read it was with Enid Blyton but having developed the habit, I would pick up any book that I came across. Fortunately there were plenty of books around and one particular set, The Children's Encyclopaedia was a favourite.

The Encyclopaedia (in several volumes) occupied a shelf in my grandfather's bookcase. It had been bought in the 1930's for my mother and her siblings. Beautifully written in an elegant, if slightly old fashioned prose, it presented heaps of facts in a uniquely interesting way. I would spend many an afternoon with a volume in my lap, reading it almost like a novel.

I've just discovered that the joy that this brought me was shared by others and someone has even put a part of it on the web. Some copies are even for sale on Amazon! (although this is a 1963 edition it looks almost the same) An infestation of termites destroyed all those lovely books, but I'm toying with the idea of buying the copy on Amazon. Have a look at the bits that are on the web.

For some further info on the books, see here.


Dulan said...

My dad got us the set (1930s I believe) second hand when he visited England on training. I loved reading them and was introduced to a wide variety of topics. But I remember at young age how I was annoyed at the tone in which Asians were written about. I guess time have changed.

Jack Point said...

Dulan, I did not notice that as much but it is very characteristic of that era.