Magical Reads! By Elizabeth Orton Jones

By , July 1, 2009 3:28 pm

While surfing the “What Others Bought” links at Amazon one day last winter, I discovered the wonderful old book Twig, by author and illustrator Elzabeth Orton Jones (1910-2005).  My 8 year-old daughter really likes tales of fairies and magic and this book sounded perfect.  It WAS perfect.  My daughter adored it and read it in one sitting!

She even chose it for her school book report book, complete with a cute diorama (I wish we had saved that to illustrate this post, but alas, it was taken apart and scattered who knows where).

This 1942 story centers around Twig (which was also the author’s nickname), a lonely little girl who decides one day to make a fairy house out of a discarded old tomato can.  I will let you discover the wonderful adventure that ensues.

I am so grateful to Purple House Press, the publisher of our 2002 edition of Twig, for their wonderful work in reprinting this lost treasure!  The mission of Purple House Press is:

“to revive long lost, but well loved children’s books. Today’s children deserve to read wholesome stories from a simpler time and we know grownups want to revisit with old childhood friends too!”

You can still order Twig from the Purple House Press website, but all they have left are more expensive editions autographed by Elizabeth Orton Jones.  We loved the book so much, that I just ordered an autographed copy to have in our collection of very special, keep always, books.

You can also order new (from Amazon affiliate sellers only) or used copies of Twig from Amazon.  Our copy was a used one from an Amazon seller but it was in like-new condition and far less expensive than the Amazon affiliates’ new editions.

After enjoying Twig, my daughter wanted to read more books by Elizabeth Orton Jones. I searched about and found Big Susan, written in 1947 and also published by Purple House Press in 2002.

Big Susan is about a little girl and her dollhouse (the story is based on the actual doll house and dolls that the author played with as a child).  The dollhouse is in complete disarray on Christmas Eve, the one night of the year where the dolls can come to life.

We read this story together as a bedtime book and I laughed out loud at the descriptions of the poor dolls (Nurse was standing on her head in the bathroom wash basin) and the general state of the dollhouse.  It reminded me of our always-messy dollhouse. It also, sadly, somewhat resembles our own house at times (although I have yet to find myself upside down in a wash basin)!

This is a sweet story all about Christmas magic, love, friendship and giving.  My children and I all loved it and were sorry to see it end.  Although it is more of a girl book I suppose, my 7 year-old son adored it and was actually the most eager to keep reading on every night.

Big Susan is easier to find than Twig.  You can order it directly from Purple House, or from Amazon.

Trust me. These are books you’ll love and want to keep to pass down to your grandchildren!

Here are pictures of the text of Twig, to give you some idea of the reading level (it is 152 pages long) – recommended ages 6 to 12:

Here is Big Susan (a slightly easier reading level than Twig with only 83 pages and lots of sweet illustrations by the author) – recommended ages 6 to 10:


8 Responses to “Magical Reads! By Elizabeth Orton Jones”

  1. TopazTook says:

    I love the whole doll/fairy literature genre (me, personally). I need to track down the author of one of my favorite childhood books, Henrietta, about the dolls Henrietta and Billy Boy and their lives as the possessions of a girl in a turn of the 20th century well-to-do family.
    .-= TopazTook´s last blog ..Weekly Goals, Food, Seasonal Activities =-.

  2. Jenny says:

    I LOVE old books like this- how wonderful that Purple House Press is publishing them again! I went to their website, and I have my eye on The Blueberry Pie Elf for CJ. Great find! :o)
    .-= Jenny´s last blog ..Books About America =-.

  3. joann10 says:

    I am soooo excited! My library system has both of these books–they have been requested and now I will impatiently await their arrival!
    .-= joann10´s last blog ..A Magical Trip to the Library =-.

  4. Mom Unplugged says:

    Joann10-Hooray! How lucky you are to have such a great library system! Our choices are pretty limited here. Let me know how you like the books!

  5. Mom Unplugged says:

    Jenny-Let me know what you think of The Blueberry Pie Elf if you get it. I am almost afraid to look too closely at their other books for fear that I would want them all!

  6. Catherine says:

    I love, love, love older books with simpler more wholesome themes. How wonderful someone is publishing them again. Thanks for finding them!
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Coloured ‘sand’ jars & painted rocks =-.

  7. marta says:

    Thanks for the reminder of this one! I had it when I was a child. I do remember it and especially the beautiful pics. Thanks also for the Noisy Village recommendation a while ago. The 6 and 10 year old boys (!) loved them!

  8. Mom Unplugged says:

    I am glad that you are enjoying the recommendations. “Noisy Village” does seem like it is geared a bit more toward girls but my son loved both books too. I am happy to hear that your boys also enjoyed them!

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