Saturday, February 17, 2007

Excellent Anglican children's books

By the way, that "DOOM" picture on my last post came from a children's book - "The Church Mice at Bay" by Graham Oakley. He wrote a whole series of these books, about a group of mice who live in an old English church with the cat, Sampson, and I highly recommend them. Even if you don't have kids, look them up, because the drawings are so clever and detailed, there are literally hours of fun to be had just studying the pictures. There are jokes in there that kids wouldn't get and wouldn't care about, but adults would love. Here are a few pictures, just to show you what I mean:

This one is from "The Church Mice Spread Their Wings", and the thing to study is the old parish bulletin, from 1870 or so, that the mice are using to make a paper airplane. Just read the tiny snippets of "news":

"...and spoon race...argument about...first. There...need for blows..."

"font...tadpole...water cha...choir-boys...frog-spawn in..."

The table of contents of this little missive lists, "O Divine Pot" - An Ode on the New Font, by Mr. Septimus Crawshaw

The next one is from "The Church Mice at Christmas". Look at the sculptures around the door to the very Victorian police station. It may be too dark to read, but the carved allegorical figures on either side of the door are "Retribution" and "Penitence".
And here's the final one, giving a bird's-eye view of a street block in the small town of Worthlethorpe. Look at the differing backyards; the one full of kids, the other one paved and filled with autos, the neat little garden with the residents complaining to some official-looking person about the people next door, with their chickens and goats and manure pile right against the fence! (Guess which one I identify with!)

Anyway, find these books, if you possibly can. Many are out of print; if you see them second-hand, buy them; if they're at the library, check them out.

There's nothing especially religious or Anglican about the stories - it serves as a delightful setting, and that's perhaps as significant as anything about what's happened to the Anglican church today. I confess, it bothers me more than I thought it would. These lovely little pictures show an Anglicanism that's not just quaint and comfortable, but GOOD. It's sad that this has to pass away, very sad. But it's not enough.


Blogger Ellie M said...

Aha, I recognized the Church Mice right away! My aunt has a collection of those books and they are utterly delightful. It's rare nowadays to see kids' picture books with really good artwork in them.

12:03 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

I know, aren't they wonderful? I always thought the stories were so good, they'd be good as animated short films, but really, you'd lose more than half the enjoyment because you can't stop to study all the detail in the pictures. It's hard to pick out "favourite" ones.

1:51 pm  
Blogger Nicholodeon said...

Thank you for talking about ordination of women. I am not an Anglican but since The Kraalspace popped on my google search for something else, I take it as a sign and I much enjoy reading your articles.

I began to elide away from Anglicanism when the Philadelphia Eleven, so-called, forced the hand of the Ecclesial Body of the USA by manipulating three senile crocks to ordain them.

Can God make a square circle? Probably, but he chooses not to operate against his established laws. Woman priest? He will make a square circle before he does this gig.

Your discussion of Anglican history pushes all the right buttons for me. If the anglicans can ordain women, they should be able to baptise dogs.

Well, say 'good night' Gracie.
Good night, Gracie.

5:54 pm  

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