Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Amazing Miss Read

I am in the process of reading my ninth book by Miss Read (who is actually Dora Saint). They are my very favorite kind of book. Set in little villages in England, they are simple stories about the lives of the characters who populate Fairacre and Thrush Green. Each village has its own separate series. They are equally delightful reading. In fact, they are the sort of books that once deeply involved in them you find yourself astonished, when you chance to look up from the pages, to find that you are in your own living room - not walking the streets of a tiny English village.

I was sitting out in my front yard this afternoon, thoroughly engrossed in "Village School." It is written in the first person by a teacher in a tiny two room school. There was a refreshing breeze, bright sunshine and the air was filled with the songs of birds happily going about their spring-time duties. I came to a small portion that I felt was aching to be put into a blog post. I give you a just a small piece of a refreshing whole:

"And all the time, I told them, the world is going round and round, like this!' I twirled the globe vigorously, with one finger on the Russian Steppes. 'Which accounts for the night and the day,' I added. I regretted this remark as soon as I saw the bewildered faces before me, for this meant a further lesson, and one, as I knew from bitter experience, that was always difficult.
'How d'you mean - night and day?' came the inevitable query. I looked at the clock. Ten minutes before the dinner van was due to arrive - I launched into the deep.
'Come and stand over here, John, and be the sun. Don't move at all. Now watch?' I twirled the globe again. 'Here's England, facing John - the sun, that is. It's bright and warm here, shining on England, but as I turn the globe what happens?'
There was a stupefied silence. The older children were thinking hard, but the babies, very sensibly, had ceased to listen to such dull stuff and were sucking thumbs happily,...
'England moves away?' hazarded one groping soul.
'Yes, it moves further and further round, until it is in darkness. It's night-time now for us.'
'Well, who's got the sun now?' asked someone who was really getting the hang of this mystery.
'Australia, New Zealand, all the countries on this side of the globe. Then as the world turns, they gradually revolve back into darkness and we come round again. And so on!' I twisted the globe merrily, and they watched it spin with silent satisfaction.
'You know,' said John at last, summing up the wonder succinctly, 'someone thought that out pretty good!"

Oh, I love these stories. Forgive me for foisting my enthusiasm on you. I just had to share!