She was reading Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, which I posted about the other day, and pointed out several connections:
• Thoreau is mentioned in the novel The Fledgling, by Jane Langton, which I have not read but Jane loved.
• As I noted in my review last week, among the neighbors for whom Henry’s friend does odd jobs are Mr. Hawthorne, Mrs. Alcott, and Mr. Emerson. I knew Jane would recognize the name “Alcott”—Little Women and Little Men are two of her favorite books— after reading the author’s note in the back of Henry Hikes, which briefly mentions Bronson Alcott (Louisa May’s father) and his unique ideas about education, Jane said, “Well, that explains Eight Cousins, doesn’t it?” Indeed, the heroine of this Louisa May Alcott novel comes to live with an uncle who has unorthodox (for his time) notions about how young girls should be raised and educated. “Simple clothes, plenty of fresh air and exercise, few parties, no fripperies, and lots of oatmeal,” Jane summarized. (“What are fwippawies?” Beanie wanted to know.)
• I was surprised the kids recognized Nathaniel Hawthorne’s name, but I forgot that Jim Weiss retells Hawthorne’s short story, “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment,” on his Spooky Classics for Children collection.
• And finally—one might say: last and most certainly least—Jane tells me that she knows about Emerson “because Nancy Drew’s boyfriend, Ned Nickerson, went to Emerson College.” All righty, then. Certainly wouldn’t want to omit that important piece of information.
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