Saturday, August 9, 2008

Book Review: What the Dormouse Said: Lessons for Grown-Ups from Children's Books by Amy Gash

What the Dormouse Said by Amy Gash
Children’s books are often dismissed as a lesser form of literature when compared to books aimed at adult audiences. However, children’s literature often contains universal truths that can benefit readers of all ages.

What the Dormouse Said: Lessons for Grown-ups from Children’s Books, is a charming collection of literary quotations. Amy Gash first became interested in children’s books after the birth of her son. She began to seek out good children’s books after her son was old enough to request the same story over and over again. This was an act of self-preservation, one to which many parents can relate. Ms. Gash soon found that not only was she reading children’s books to her son; she was also reading them for her own enjoyment. Along the way, she was able to glean wisdom for adult living from these tales intended for children.

The book covers subjects such as love and friendship, imagination, wisdom, courage, acceptance, nature, character and individuality, growing old and hidden truths. The quotations are from a wide variety of sources: Charlotte’s Web, Mary Poppins, The Water-Babies, Ella Enchanted, The Little Prince, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Goodnight Moon, The Velveteen Rabbit, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Sarah, Plain and Tall; just to name a few. There are wonderful illustrations by Pierre Le-Tan interspersed throughout the book.

I read many of the books quoted in What the Dormouse Said as a child, more of them as an adult, and have discovered many titles that were new to me that I will seek out in the future. It’s a delightful book for anyone who enjoys children’s literature.

I’d like to close my review by sharing some of my favorite quotations from What the Dormouse Said with you:

“Each thing she learned became part of herself, to be used over and over in new adventures.” –Gypsy, Kate Seredy

“Grownups sure do a lot of pretending and call it politeness.” –Miss Charity Comes to Stay, Alberta Wilson Constant

“You saved me once, and what is given is always returned. We are in this world to help one another.” –The Adventures of Pinocchio, C. Collodi

“The Dormouse sulkily remarked, ‘If you can’t be civil, you’d better finish the story for yourself.’” –Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Rating: 8/10

Buy What the Dormouse Said:
Indiebound | Powell's | Amazon


  1. Oh, this sounds like a really cute book. I love quotes myself, and children's books are quite full of wonderful wisdom. I think I'll have to go in search of this one!
    Great review. I liked the quotes you included at the end. :)


  2. Great review of a unique book. I'll have to order this for our library. Including the quotes really helped to clarify how the book was set up.
    Thanks so much. Have a great week.