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Children’s Story Time at the Hoboken Public Library Turns 90: Celebrate with Classic Children’s Books!

26 Oct

Children’s Story Time was started back in in 1926, when the Hoboken Public Library’s second library director, Nina Hatfield, started sharing stories with Hoboken’s children.  Her story times were incredibly popular–at times more than 75 children between the ages of 3 and 10 would gather around Mrs. Hatfield.  Ninety years later, story times continue to be one of our most popular events for our library patrons.  In celebration of our story times’ birthday, I wanted to look back at four of my favorite children’s stories that kids may have listened to or read back in 1926, that your child can still enjoy today.  Some have been modified in later editions to make them more appropriate for modern audiences, but they still remain classics.

Winnie-the-Pooh, by A. A. Milne

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The adorably sweet bear Winnie the Pooh also turns 90 this October.  There have been many new books, movies, and even a ride based on the A.A. Milne classic, but you can still check out the original Milne stories here at the Hoboken Public Library.  Pooh and several of the other characters from the book were based on toys owned by Milne’s son Christopher Robin.  Your children will be charmed by Winnie-the-Pooh who may be a bit naive, but is always kind and loyal.  Ernest H. Shepard provided illustrations.

The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame

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Another classic illustrated by Shepard, is The Wind in the Willows.  I remember as a child checking it out from the library at my elementary school.  Sculptor Seward Johnson, was such such a fan of the work that when he created a restaurant for his Grounds for Sculpture, Sculpture Park, in Princeton, he named it Rat’s after the character who was an excellent host and threw great parties.  It was where my mom threw my children’s book themed baby shower so it will be especially sweet to borrow The Wind in the Willows and read it with my son and share all of the wild adventures of Mr. Toad, Ratty, Mole, and Badger.

The Story of Doctor Dolittle, by Hugh Lofting

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As a kid who both adored animals and loved to travel, the Doctor Dolittle stories by Hugh Lofting were a favorite of mine.  Dolittle is a Victorian Era veterinarian who has a menagerie of animals who he learns to communicate with thanks to being taught by his pet parrot.  The first book The Story of Doctor Dolittle was published in 1920.  Nine books followed and the character has been adapted for films, TV, and plays, many of which are available from BCCLS libraries.  Lofting first created the character when he was writing letters to his children when he was in the military during World War I.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter

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Beatrix Potter first self-published The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1901, before it received a trade publication in 1902.  Peter Rabbit was soon followed by other anthropomorphic animal tales such as The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin and The Tale of Little Pig RobinsonThe Tale of Peter Rabbit features the story of a family of rabbits and the grumpy farmer whose garden a rebellious Peter can’t resist sneaking into.  Peter was inspired by a rabbit who was Potter’s pet.  I remember learning to read with help from my mom using the Golden Book version.  The book has seen many adaptations including a ballet (you can borrow a film version from BCCLS libraries).

I have also discussed a few other classic tales in previous posts including: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

What are some of your favorite Children’s Classics?  Share them with us in the comments!

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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