More Victorian Stuff and a Note from Howard Whitehouse!

January 17, 2011 @ 7:27 pm | Filed under: , ,

Another quickie post to record some fun learning moments from this morning…I seem to keep doing this lately, these kind of “here’s today’s rabbit trail” posts. Bit lazy of me; I have a separate blog where I (sometimes, sporadically) record these things. Somehow it’s easier to do it here. Never know whether it’s of interest to anyone but our own family, but I kind of like having the archive all in one place.

Anyhoo. We read about Luddites in Story of the World (we’re bouncing, lately, between that and Abe Lincoln’s World and Landmark History of the American People—I may have said this already; and also by “we” I mean mainly Rose and Beanie and me), and then, taking the excellent suggestion of kind Anne in the comments, we visited the BBC Schools website’s section on the Victorians. I had forgotten about this site, which has a smorgasbord of fun stuff. We spent a lot of time there back in Ancient Greece days. Today we mostly looked at the photos and illustrations pertaining to the rise of factories, especially the parts involving child labor. My lasses are fascinated by the contrast between their lives and the lives of, say, an eight-year-old coal-mine door-opener in the north of England, in the days before laws were passed that said you had to be at least ten years old for that sort of work, and could spend no more than ten hours a day at it. Beanie will be ten in just over a week; the notion of spending all daylight hours huddled in a dark coal tunnel caused her eyes to grow as large as if she had, in fact, done just that. Well, almost.

We looked at Victorian architecture a bit, too. And then squeezed in a chapter of Strictest School in the World before lunch.

Speaking of which! Fun news from the author, Howard Whitehouse, who kindly wrote me an email yesterday! He’s offering a very nice deal on the three Emmaline and Rubberbones books: His publisher, Kids Can Press, has made it possible for him to offer a limited number of inscribed, hardcover copies at a much reduced rate:

$5 USD each, plus actual shipping at media (book) rate by the post office.  A set of all three, inscribed to whoever you like, would be $21 including a very nice mailer envelope (!) delivered within the US. More outside, obviously.

The books are The Strictest School in the World: Being the Tale of a Clever Girl, a Rubber Boy and a Collection of Flying Machines, Mostly Broken (2006)—a Victorian prison break tale set at a boarding school involving flying machines and pterodactyls.

The Faceless Fiend, Being the Tale of a Criminal Mastermind, His Masked Minions and a Princess with a Butter Knife, Involving Explosives and a Certain Amount of Pushing and Shoving (2007)—in which a master criminal plans to kidnap lovable-yet-deranged Princess Purnah, with Sherlock Holmes, a Belgian Birdman, and an elderly dog.

The Island of Mad Scientists, Being an Excursion to the Wilds of Scotland, Involving Many Marvels of Experimental Invention, Pirates, a Heroic Cat, a Mechanical Man and a Monkey (2008)— where our adventurers are pursued madly, and a whole collection of Victorian scientists (some real, some not) are held captive.

Personally, I think those subtitles alone are worth five dollars apiece. 😉 We already own the first but I might take advantage of the sale to round out our set, and stash the extra copy away for a future birthday gift.

To order, contact Mr. Whitehouse at professorbellbuckle (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Official blogger disclosure notice: Nothing to disclose! Just passing along the author’s kind offer.

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12 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Mary G says:

    All three are definitely worth having on your shelves! My kids loved them and they’re SUCH FUN to read-aloud!

    Enjoy ….

  2. Melissa Wiley says:

    Mary, you’re the one who introduced me to them! Thanks so much for posting about them a while back. 🙂

  3. Mamalion says:

    Yay! I emailed him- thanks so much for arranging this, and for the book suggestion to begin with. I’d just gotten Strictest School from the library. The Cubs and I think it reads similar to the Eddie Dickens trilogy. “I am the Empress of All China!”

  4. Penny says:

    My Eldest has loved these books — time to introduce them to the younger methinks…

    Have you read the Queen Victoria book in the Royal Diaries series? Or are you more into “the thick of Victorian times”? Either way, what a fun way you are learning about this – teatime anyone? lol

  5. Paula in MN says:

    Yes yes yes! We borrowed the first book from the library and loved it. Mary is the one who turned us on to the books too! The kids birthdays are in February, but don’t tell them what they’re getting!

  6. Kathryn says:

    If you are in the mood for trawling used book sites, I think you (plural) would enjoy The Warden’s Niece by Gillian Avery – written in the 1950s, set in Victorian England, very fun book for girls. Here is a link at Goodreads:

  7. Annette W says:

    Thanks for sharing!!

  8. Annette W says:

    I knew I recognized your name, though I hadn’t read your books. Your intro to the newly published Betsy-Tacy books was just as good as the books!!! Thanks so much for loving the classics…and it seems that you are creating new ones, too!

  9. coffeemamma says:

    Oh, I wish we could take advantage of this offer- but shipping to Canada is ridiculous. We’re about half-way through the first book, and loving it!

  10. Howard Whitehouse says:

    Thanks to Melissa for posting this and to everyone who has contacted me!

    This has been a boon to me, since the tiny company I have worked for since 2008 has suddenly imploded, leaving me terribly sad and alone and — well, skint!

    By the way, Coffeemama, I believe that three books to Canada costs about $12 US based on the weight. So it’s not quite as bad as it might be.

    The books, of course, came to me from Canada in the first place.

  11. Andrea says:

    My guys were fascinated by the book KIDS AT WORK: LEWIS HINE AND THE CRUSADE AGAINST CHILD LABOR. Hine started out as a turn of-the-last-century NYC school teacher before quitting to become an investigative photographer for the National Child Labor Committee. Powerful! We also read excerpts from KIDS ON STRIKE by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Our favorite was the book of Hine photos, though…