Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Water Babies - Charles Kingsley

The story follows Tom in his land-life as a climbing boy for a chimney sweep and in his after life as a water baby, where he gains redemption from selfishness as well as from drudgery.

Publshed by: Dover Publications - Kindle Edition
Year: 2013
Pages: 225
ISBN: 1853261483

The Water Babies is my return to school read for April.  All I could remember was the fact that essentially it was a fairy tale written by Charles Kingsley for his 4 year old son about a young chimney sweep.  Tom who is supposedly looked after by the Chimney Sweep Grimes.  Grimes ill-treats Tom.

Tom thinks he is in trouble after taking a wrong turn inside a chimney and ending up in the wrong room and thinks he has frightened the little girl he finds there.  Tom runs away and sadly falls into the river and drowns.  It is at this point he starts his journey to become a water baby, but first he has lessons he must learn.  

I think I was probably about 13 or 14 the last time I read this book and at the time I really didn't find it of any interest at all.  I'm told now that it is one of the classics but it wouldn't be for me I'm afraid.  I had forgotten that it was a fairy tale written for the authors 4 year old son.  I'm not quite sure that a 4 year old would necessarily comprehend it's meaning or whether they would be able to follow the morals of the story or the story itself at a length of some 200+ pages.  I certainly don't think it would of been the highest on my list of fairy tales to read to my own children at such a young age. I think it may have frightened them or even worse think it's ok to play in water because no one dies in the our rivers do they they all just turn into water babies, which as we all no in the real world is not the case.

Once again I have satisfied my curiosity of re-reading this one at the age of 51 but I think it will stay on the bookshelf from now on.


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