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The Water-Babies

Charles Kingsley

Book Overview: 

The Water-Babies, A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby is a novel by the Reverend Charles Kingsley. The journey of a little chimney-sweep water-baby through rivers and storms, under sea and over iceberg is a classic, wonderful children’s adventure.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .m at all, we shall find him lying at the bottom." And he slapped his great hand upon his great thigh, and said—

"Who will go down over Lewthwaite Crag, and see if that boy is alive? Oh that I were twenty years younger, and I would go down myself!" And so he would have done, as well as any sweep in the county. Then he said—

"Twenty pounds to the man who brings me that boy alive!" and as was his way, what he said he meant.

Now among the lot was a little groom-boy, a very little groom indeed; and he was the same who had ridden up the court, and told Tom to come to the Hall; and he said—

"Twenty pounds or none, I will go down over Lewthwaite Crag, if it's only for the poor boy's sake. For he was as civil a spoken little chap as ever climbed a flue."

So down over Lewthwaite Crag he went: a very smart groom he was at the top, and a very shabby one at the bottom; for he tore his gaiters, and he tore his breec. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Summary: The audiobook narration is truly one of the finest that can be found -- really superb. The book itself is particularly good, and educational, though some caveats must be made.

The Book: Just absolutely delightful! Keenly imaginative, clever, and funny. Interwoven naturally with charming l...more

I know this book is pretty controversial, but I enjoyed it in spite of that. As accepted during that time in history, there is definitely some prejudice against other races and nationalities, especially the Irish. The Englishman rules and all others are inferior. But, I just took this as British...more

This took some time to read due to work and other things, however it was a good read.

What I found with this was a need to understand the way of life in
the time it was penned. There were a number of times that I stopped to check a comment here and there against a book on victorian politics, way o...more

A childhood favourite. I don't know what I'd make of it now.

This was a gift to me by one of my favourite aunts, a highly intellectual lady and an alumnus of the JNU (she is no more, sadly). It gathered dust on my shelf for quite a long time before I picked it up one day and devoured it in a singl...more

How many people can say that drowning was the best thing that’s ever happened to them?

Life is terrible for Tom. He’s an ordinary boy and he’s in an ordinary situation. Granted, it’s a tough situation but it’s still rather ordinary for the time. His master beats him and overworks him. This is the...more

I have no idea what edition I read as a child, but I do know that I harbor huge nostalgia about the book's weird adventures and pen and ink illustrations. Every time I see the title at a used book sale, I reflect on my childhood.

Now as an adult, having read Goodreads reviews, I wonder what I woul...more

Googling around to see if anyone knows who Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby and Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid are based on (I have often wondered about this), I discover by chance that the author invented the word 'cuddly', which first appeared in The Water-Babies.

Well, there's your useless fact for today.

This book was actually one of the saddest I've ever read. Seemingly a harmless fantasy novel, it carries an underlying allegorical message about the toll that child labour has on kids. I'm surprised it doesn't have a higher overall rating though, because the way the author describes the mystical...more

Μιας και το να αναζητήσεις τον συγγραφέα στα ελληνικά δεν φέρνει αποτελέσματα πόσο μάλλον να υπάρχει το βιβλίο του αυτό μεταφρασμένο, θα πω ό,τι έχω να πω ελληνικά.

ο συγγραφέας
Τσαρλς Κίνγκσλεϊ: συγγραφέας, αγγλικανός κληρικός, καθηγητής ιστορίας στο Κέιμπριτζ, γνώστης ελληνικής μυθολογίας (σε αντ...more

Humphrey Carpenter's "Secret Gardens: A Study of the Golden Age of Children's Literature" sounds like something I ought to have read. The period it describes runs from the mid-19th century to the early 20th, placing The Water-Babies right near its start and certainly an influence on everything fr...more

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