Anne of Green Gables: The Original Manuscript

Hi, everyone!

Today I am so very excited to share some great news with you. First, I have something new yet classic, old yet original to share with you. That’s exciting in and of itself.

Second, it’s quintessentially Canadian, which you know I love.

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Third, it’s a book the world has been needing for a while: a scholarly yet readable copy of the original Anne of Green Gables quite aptly titled: Anne of Green Gables: The Original Manuscript, edited by Carolyn Strom Collins. (Note: The lovely people at Nimbus sent it to me to review, which I happily undertook to do on condition they knew I’d only review it if I liked it. They agreed, I loved the book, so here we are.)

So, what is this book?

This is a transcription of the original manuscript of Anne of Green Gables, with marginal notes, additions and deletions, etc., all noted carefully and clearly. It presents, in short, the text as it sprang from L.M. Montgomery’s mind, before she even settled on Diana’s name! If you think that books came into being as they are found on bookshelf walls, this book will challenge you. It will make you rethink how books happen, and it will give you a fresh appreciation for the editorial process.

This is a book written for people like me: passionate lovers of Anne of Green Gables and Lucy Maud Montgomery, especially ones with a strong love of manuscript history. That said, while it shows rigorous academic work and is meticulously edited by Carolyn Strom Collins, it is also both beautiful and accessible. Let me count the ways:

First, the introduction gives a coherent narrative of the manuscript history, how Montgomery worked, and why we should care about the manuscript.

Second, there is a beautifully clear guide to how to use the text in your hands. The guide to the symbols and notes Collins uses is presented at the front (not hidden at the back) makes the whole book usable by both academic readers and the rest of us.

Third, even if you want to ignore the marginal notes, the text itself is laid out nicely and readably so you can just scan the main text, only glancing at the margins if you really are curious.

Granted: I have been an academic for years. So I didn’t trust myself to judge clarity. I therefore trotted myself over to my local book shop to gloat– sorry, to lend the book shop people this book (I may also have gloated a bit, sorry, it’s a really special book and I was just so glad to have it!) and see what they thought.

The report was exactly as I thought: it is a smart book, yes, but it’s also transparent. It’s usable on many levels. You can flip through to find your favourite scenes and see how they evolved, or you can read from the beginning and meticulously follow the careful scholarly work that’s gone into it.

I highly recommend it as a gift for any lover of Anne. It does have a more “grown up” feel to it, as the presentation is distinctly suitable for a nice mahogany book shelf, but I think it’s understandable by any smart reader of Anne’s life (think how Anne herself would feel knowing she was in such a “grown up” book– and now think about a smart 12-year-old getting a lovely book like this!). It would be a great companion to House of Dreamsor is a lovely gift on its own.

So here’s that link again: but note that online it says it’s coming out in the USA on January 28.

Welcome, Wombat Giveaway Update

Hi, folks! Good news: I just got back from the Harvard Book Store where I picked this little gem up!

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That, right there, is the shiny new copy of Welcome, Wombat which I’ll be mailing to one of you, whoever wins it in the giveaway.

What giveaway, you ask? To those who don’t know what I’m talking about, go to this post for details or read on for an abbreviated version:

Donate $20 or more to WIRES in support of the wildlife endangered by the fires in Australia. Pat yourselves on the back for having done something really good. Email me at deborah@childrensbookroom.com with your donation information, and tell me whether you want to be entered for the book or a wombat-themed t-shirt (or, you know, maybe you’re happy with either one!).

Thank you, thank you, thank you for having donated. This is a cause that matters to me as the mother of a lover of Australian wildlife, and because of my Australian friends.

NB: The t-shirt has been more enthusiastically sought after than the book, so your chances of getting the book are higher. I HIGHLY recommend the book, in fact, both because you’re more likely to get it and because it will give you something to discuss with my daughter when you next meet…!

If you have any questions at all, email me or comment here!

Welcome, Wombat + Giveaway

Hi, everyone.

Usually I try to be upbeat here, but today is going to be a little sombre. Why?

Well, because I’ve been wanting, for a long time, to write a lovely, cheerful post about my daughter’s ongoing love of wombats, her unshaken love of marsupials of all kinds– and the news from Australia has been, in a word, terrible.

I’m heartbroken, and the long, laughing post in my head has contracted into an appeal for help. Wildlife in Australia is going through a hard time, as I’m sure you all know. I can’t bear to link to the articles, so I’m not going to. You can find plenty of information out there if you want to look.

Instead, I’m going to give you some reassuring news, and some charity links, and a giveaway.

I have more reviews on the back burner: real, meaty reviews for you. I have plans to tell you about. But today? One brief, heartfelt appeal and giveaway to sweeten the deal for you.

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Let’s start with a rescue organization which is blessedly spared the worst of the fire: When I heard of the fires and devastation, my first thought was, “Please not Sleepy Burrows!”

Sleepy Burrows is a rescue sanctuary for wombats who are affected badly by many factors– and are written about in one of the Changeling’s favourite books, Welcome, Wombat by Kama Einhorn. That book is a wonderful source of information about wombats, how they grow, how unique they are, and the conflicts that humans run into in such a special environment as Australia (and, we can extrapolate– many other places on earth).

My daughter loves this book: she takes it with her on every vacation, she reads it at night until she falls asleep, and we hear about Sleepy Burrows all day every day! Sleepy Burrows gets royalties, by the way, from sales of the book.

So we are glad that, so far, Sleepy Burrows has been spared the worst of the impact of these fires.

Other animals, as we know, have not been so lucky. Koalas are faring badly. On Kangaroo Island the dunnart is doing badly. I won’t go on. We are grateful that Sleepy Burrows is OK for now, but– Here are some links for you:

a) The wonderful Sophie Blackall is holding a fundraiser, donating all proceeds from her print for Wombat Walkabout (a book I must get for my daughter!) to rescue efforts: follow her link here. (NB: I cannot afford this right now, but anyone who wants to get a print for my daughter sure is welcome!)

b) For those, like me, who can’t afford that gorgeous print, the organization she pledges to help is WIRES.

c) MY PLEDGE: I will host a giveaway here for those who donate to WIRES. There are going to be TWO PRIZES, so TWO WINNERS: 1 copy of Welcome, Wombat, described above; and 1 special wombat t-shirt inspired by the wonderful Blunderbuss, the scrap yarn combat-wombat from Catherynne Valente’s Fairyland series.

DETAILS: Donate $20 or more to WIRES. Email me at deborah@childrensbookroom.com with your donation information, and tell me whether you want to be entered for the book or t-shirt (or, you know, maybe you’re happy with either one!).

I WILL SEND THE BOOK/T-SHIRT ANYWHERE, WORLDWIDE. SHIPPING IS ON ME.

Deadline: One week today, January 14, 2020. I will draw randomly from any donors, and will send you my heartfelt thanks.

Reminder: 1 book, 1 shirt of any size or colour. Deadline: January 14, 2020. Please donate to WIRES.

Thank you from me, from my daughter, from the animals.