Elsie Oxenham, the Abbey Girls and talent vs marriage

Elsie Oxenham (EJO) and the Abbey books is one of those series I fell towards following my love-affair with Brent-Dyer. EJO is an odd writer; one who’s dated greatly and then, in some queer little moments, not at all. I’m reading my Abbey books at present with a view towards gaining research for my dissertationContinue reading “Elsie Oxenham, the Abbey Girls and talent vs marriage”

The World of Elsie Jeanette Oxenham and her Books by Monica Godfrey

The World of Elsie Jeanette Oxenham and Her Books by Monica Godfrey My rating: 2 of 5 stars This isn’t a subtle biography by any means. It’s written from a very particular standpoint; one that I do accept, occasionally understand, but can’t ever describe as high literature. Godfrey is a fan, The World of ElsieContinue reading “The World of Elsie Jeanette Oxenham and her Books by Monica Godfrey”

The Abbey Girls In Town by Elsie J. Oxenham

The Abbey Girls in Town by Elsie J. Oxenham My rating: 4 of 5 stars Once you do an Abbey reread, you can’t stop. Though I was much more intrigued by the middle-aged spy drama happening in the background of this cover, and disappointed that it did not appear in the actual text itself, thisContinue reading “The Abbey Girls In Town by Elsie J. Oxenham”

Unexpected Archive Delights : 1920s Children’s Book Adverts

I am constantly surprised by archives. I know that’s an incredibly strange thing to say and one that sounds even stranger when you are supposed to know what you are looking at, but it’s true. I am surprised by archives; the way they give me something that I request that comes with a thousand otherContinue reading “Unexpected Archive Delights : 1920s Children’s Book Adverts”

Pandora of Parrham Royal : Violet Needham

Pandora of Parrham Royal by Violet Needham My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’ve known about Violet Needham for a while but never really known about her, the specifics, at all. I had a vague idea that she was a contemporary of Elinor M. Brent-Dyer and Elsie Oxenham, but then, as I never found herContinue reading “Pandora of Parrham Royal : Violet Needham”

The New Normal : The Normalising of Creativity

Recently I’ve been thinking about doing a PhD ( Me! A PhD! Me who didn’t even get her GCSE Maths!), and as part of this I’ve been considering what I’d do it on. There’s a part of me that yearns, genuinely, just to get buried in the books and occasionally pop up and produce aContinue reading “The New Normal : The Normalising of Creativity”

Identifying geniuses in children’s literature

Genius is one of those almost unidentifiable things. You either have it, or you don’t, and until you become able to manifest it in ways we understand and can legitimise (ie: through a Mensa Test) , it may remain a relatively hidden talent. It’s a difficulty faced by geniuses in children’s literature and one that I’m goingContinue reading “Identifying geniuses in children’s literature”

Gendered books in children’s literature

There’s been an interesting debate on Twitter over the last couple of days about book design, marketing, and packaging in relation to issues of gender. Princess books versus Digger books. Construction of identity. Audiences. It’s been an interesting debate and it’s one that I’ve found particularly thought-provoking and incredibly complex. One comment on a postContinue reading “Gendered books in children’s literature”

The nature of genius in GirlsOwn Literature

Margia Bettany. Maidlin di Ravarati.Mildred Lancaster. Three characters, from three distinctly different authors. The one thing they have in common (apart from starting with the letter M..)? They’re all gifted and talented characters in their respective books. Genius in GirlsOwn Literature is a curious thing. It’s almost precluded to be gender specific due to the dominanceContinue reading “The nature of genius in GirlsOwn Literature”

Meet the family (confessions of a book collector)

My books! My lovely lovely books! Behold the heart of my Temple of Solitude! The left hand side is all Brent-Dyer, and a few Lorna Hills on the bottom. When you’re a book collector, you remember where so many of them came from. It’s almost as important as the book itself. My Chalet School collectionContinue reading “Meet the family (confessions of a book collector)”

Robin Jarvis or Why The Old Ones Are Still The Best

I love my books. Being reunited with them is always an utter utter joy. I’m such a dork. I say hi to my mum, hi to my dad, pat the dog perfunctorily, tickle the cats and then race upstairs and stare lovingly at my babies. These shelves contain all the authors I can’t let go.Continue reading “Robin Jarvis or Why The Old Ones Are Still The Best”

Dimsie Moves Up : Dorita Fairlie Bruce

Dimsie Moves Up by Dorita Fairlie Bruce My rating: 3 of 5 stars In the world of Girlsown literature, there’s a concept of ‘the big four’. These are authors who formed the cornerstones of this genre: Elsie “Abbey” J Oxenham, Elinor “Chalet” M.Brent-Dyer, and Angela “Let’s use all the speech tags in the world” Brazil.Continue reading “Dimsie Moves Up : Dorita Fairlie Bruce”

Chin up, chest out – hold on a minute

I’m a little peeved. There’s a line which I’ve just read in Mary Cadogan’s Chin up chest out Jemima which is rankling with me. I’ll quote it here: “Of course I moved on from DFB, through Elsie Jeanette Oxenham and Elinor Brent-Dyer and others, eventually to adult literature.” (2004:15). Now I’m genuinely a fan of Cadogan’s work.Continue reading “Chin up, chest out – hold on a minute”