No Title
Shobhana Bhattacharji
THE PUFFIN BOOK OF CLASSIC STORIES FOR GIRLS by Manjula Padmanabhan Penguin Books, 2011, 155 pp., 150
November 2011, volume 35, No 11

The Puffin Book of Classic Stories for Girls was first published in 2010. Its title is misleading and yet not, depending on what you understand by ‘stories.’ These are neither original stories nor all short stories nor all of them written originally for girls or even for children in general.

But they are well chosen extracts, including one from Heidi by Johanna Spyri. Little Heidi has just arrived to live with her grandfather high in the Swiss mountains. She meets Peter with whom she shares her food without really noticing that he is poor and has less to eat than her. She falls in love with the goats and runs about all day, filling the pages with her bubbling happiness. From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland we have the bit where Alice falls down the rabbit hole and wants to get through the little door leading to the garden. She eats magic food to make her smaller and larger and so on.

I had forgotten how much detail there is in the description of her rushing through the tunnel. She has plenty of time to see labels on bottles, take out things from shelves, examine them and put them back, all the while falling down down down. Ruskin Bond’s The Blue Umbrella was new to me. It is one of his sweetly moving hill stories.

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