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The Little Bookroom
The Little Bookroom cover.jpg
First edition
Author Eleanor Farjeon
Illustrator Edward Ardizzone
Cover artist Ardizzone
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Children's short stories, original fairy tales
Publisher OUP
Publication date
Media type Print (hardcover, paperback)
Pages 302 pp (first edition)
ISBN 0-19-271947-5 (2004)
OCLC 632408232
LC Class PZ7.F229

The Little Bookroom is a collection of twenty-seven stories for children by Eleanor Farjeon, published by Oxford University Press in 1955 with illustrations by Edward Ardizzone. They were selected by the author from stories published earlier in her career. Most were in the fairy tale style.

Next year Farjeon won the inaugural Hans Christian Andersen International Medal, recognising her career contribution to children's literature as a writer. She also won the annual Carnegie Medal, recognising The Little Bookroom as the year's best children's book by a British subject.

Oxford published a U.S. edition in 1956 with a long title, as catalogued by the national library: The Little Bookroom: Eleanor Farjeon's short stories for children, chosen by herself.

The title

One room in the house of her childhood was called "the little bookroom", Farjeon explains in the Author's Note. Although there were many books all over the house, this dusty room was like an untended garden, full to the ceiling of stray, left-over books, opening "magic casements" on to other times and places for the young Eleanor, filling her mind with a silver-cobwebby mixture of fact, fancy and romance which influenced all her later writing. "Seven maids with seven brooms, sweeping for half-a-hundred years, have never managed to clear my mind of its dust of vanished temples and flowers and kings, the curls of ladies, the sighing of poets, the laughter of lads and girls."

The stories

The four longest of 27 stories (‡) constitute one-third of the collection by length.

  • The King and the Corn
  • The King's Daughter Cries for the Moon ‡
  • Young Kate
  • The Flower Without a Name
  • The Goldfish
  • The Clumber Pup ‡
  • The Miracle of the Poor Island
  • The Girl Who Kissed the Peach-Tree
  • Westwoods
  • The Barrel-Organ
  • The Giant and the Mite
  • The Little Dressmaker
  • The Lady's Room
  • The Seventh Princess
  • Leaving Paradise ‡
  • The Little Lady's Roses
  • In Those Days
  • The Connemara Donkey
  • The Tims
  • Pennyworth
  • And I Dance Mine Own Child ‡
  • The Lovebirds
  • San Fairy Ann
  • The Glass Peacock
  • The Kind Farmer
  • Old Surly and the Boy
  • Pannychis

The illustrations

The black-and-white illustrations by Edward Ardizzone have been described as evoking "the magical atmosphere of the stories". Although the librarians judged no 1955 book suitable for the newly established Kate Greenaway Medal for children's book illustration, a year later Ardizzone won the first-awarded Greenaway Medal for Tim All Alone (1956) which he also wrote.

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