Online public-domain children's literature
October 5, 2008 5:20 PM   Subscribe

"The Baldwin Project seeks to make available online a comprehensive collection of resources for parents and teachers of children. Our focus, initially, is on literature for children that is in the public domain in the United States. This includes all works first published before 1923."

Many of the texts include illustrations from the original book, such as Celtic Fairy Tales (1892) and The Children of Odin (1920) (but alas not The Boy's Cuchulain, which had fabulous illustrations).
posted by (10 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Aha! The Boy's Cuchulain DOES have some illustrations...they're just not as upfront as in the others. Great stuff.
posted by at 5:21 PM on October 5, 2008

This looks wonderful,
posted by mwhybark at 6:23 PM on October 5, 2008

Cuchulain saw an otter that crept up from the rushes on the margin of the lake. Stealthily the creature drew towards him, attracted by the blood, and in a timid way began to drink. It vexed Cuchulain when he saw the cringing beast drinking his blood while he was yet alive, and he ceased tugging at the buried spear-head, and made shift to stoop and pick up the fallen shaft and fling it at the beast. At that a raven came fluttering down and hesitatingly drew near, and [268] dipped its beak into the hero's blood; but in the slippery stream its claws were caught and so the bird upset. When he saw that, Cuchulain laughed aloud, and well he knew that laugh would be his last.


At the sick bed of Cuchulainn we'll kneel and say a prayer
And the ghosts are rattling at the door and the devil's in the chair


My thought on reading the top-most passage: here, we see the origin moment of Drinky Crow.
posted by mwhybark at 6:32 PM on October 5, 2008

If I had a kid, I'd load 'em all up on my Kindle and have at it -- imagine the coolness of having dozens upon dozens of cool, kid-friendly books with you at all times. Beats the minivan-with-DVD-player, if you ask me.

(That said, wouldn't it be cool if there were big-buttoned, waterproof/jamproof/droolproof Kindles for kids old enough to read on their own? Ok, so it doesn't quite have the curling-up-in-the-windowseat-like-Jane-Eyre factor, but anything to get kids reading is ok by me).
posted by at 6:34 PM on October 5, 2008

Ha, mwhybark! Love that Pogues song, love the Cattle Raid of Cooley -- I'd name my kid Cuchulainn in a second if it wouldn't sound redonkulous with my boyfriend's Hungarian surname. Isn't it funny, too, that the literature considered appropriate for children of 100 years ago is so much more violent, etc than today's namby pamby stuff? If you read more in the Baldwin Project intro here, you'll see she chooses which texts to publish based on lists in older books.
posted by at 6:39 PM on October 5, 2008

Here's what might be a closer source for that song.
posted by mwhybark at 6:56 PM on October 5, 2008

This is awesome, thanks.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 7:45 PM on October 5, 2008

this is a project i would be even more excited about if the baldwin brothers were adapting them for saturday morning tv. that's what i was hoping baldwin project was referring to. for the children of odin i think alec would definitely be odin, stephen should be loki, daniel a giant. stephen, eh who remembers him anyway.
posted by andywolf at 8:32 PM on October 5, 2008

Fabulous find, thanks!
posted by dejah420 at 10:15 PM on October 5, 2008

The Baldwin brothers on Saturday morning TV? Can you imagine the ads?
Hi! I'm Alec Baldwin and we've got an exciting new television show for the kids on Saturday mornings! You think I made it because I've got nothing better to do? I could be shouting shit at random people on the street, but I'm making this show for you. I don't care that you're twelve or eleven or whatever, are you pig enough to watch it? I'm a good actor, and you're a pig. I don't give a shit! Saturday mornings, 9:00 a.m.
Or maybe not.
posted by at 6:31 AM on October 6, 2008

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