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Brilliant Books to Read Online

(or download for your reader)

Rootabaga Stories

Rootabaga Stories Cover

Three-Time Pulitzer Prize winner, Poet Laureate and devoted father, Sandburg was prolific in the art of Bedtime Stories. He created a body of fairy tales imbued with the spirit of American prairies and the people who live on them, and gathered them together in the these two books.

Rootabaga Pigeons

Cover of the Book Rootabaga Pigeons

Return to the Rootabaga Country, and let our old friend, the Potato Face Blind Man, introduce us to a whole new cast of characters. Their love stories, calamities and excursions are made real by the poet’s word wizardry. The iconic illustrations are by Maude and Misha Petersham.

“I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.”

Woody Allen

I used to hoard books.

Now I hoard epubs. I keep them on my old kindle; I have nearly 2,000 books– and the stack never gets any heavier! Most of these come from Gutenberg, because I like the old authors, and also– free downloads. Many of these Gutenberg files have been edited by me, because I like a decent-looking page to read, and also illustrations if I can get them. I like illustrations so much– I’ve recreated some of my favorite picture books here for your reading pleasure.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

More Picture Books to Peruse Online

Once on a Time by A. A. Milne

The creator of the iconic Seven Acre Woods and its denizens indulges in a somewhat more adult humor here. Sly characterizations, absurd situations and sweetly romantic Happy-Ever-Afters abound, all illustrated in a lavish Pre-Raphaelite pastiche by Charles Robinson.

The Young Visitors

Read the comic masterpiece that took turn-of-the-century reading circles by storm. With a preface by J.M. Barrie

Street Life in London

Published in 1875 by the social crusaders J. Thompson, who took the photographs lavishly illustrating this book, and Adolphe Smith, a noted essayist of the time.

The King Of Gee–Whiz

The Pickle twins, Zuzu and Lulu, have blue, and green hair. Nowadays, of course, this would go mostly unremarked, but back at the turn of the last century, it was unheard of. Needless to say, this marks them out for adventure, delightfully illustrated and set to song in the best music hall tradition.

Download From Our Bookshelves

  • Irish Storytellers; A collection of accomplished spinners of tales, including  James Stephens, Brian MacMahon and the inimitable Padraic Colum
  • Frank R. Stockton; The writer of the classic; “The Lady? or, The Tiger?” will charm and beguile you with his wide range of interests and his fluid storytelling skills.
    Read online; The Floating Prince
  • M. R. James; Antiquities Historian and the father of the modern ghost story. His stories “put the reader into the position of saying to himself, ‘If I’m not very careful, something of this kind may happen to me!” Here is a very small number of volumes from his very long bookshelf.
    Read online; The Mezzotint
  • E. Nesbit She is probably best known for her series “The Railway Children” but her output exceeded forty books for children alone.  I have a baker’s dozen that I am working my way through;
    Read online; a chapter (about writing poetry) from The Treasure Seekers
  • Doctor Dolittle; Beguilingly illustrated by the author, these books wear well– even unto this age. Touching on themes that are well-known to us today, such as animal rights, and social isolation, these stories of outrageously exotic adventure and prosaic small doings are a pleasure to read. Seven, thus far. More, I sincerely hope, to come.
  • Some oddities for children; The King of Gee-Whiz, how’s that for a name! Also a lovely half-a-story by the great Walter De la Mare,  two riffs on Peter Pan from J. M. Barrie, and adventures in baby-sitting from the Victorian humorist W. Heath Robinson.