Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…


"Ordered movement, ritual, is natural to men. But some ages are better at it, are more used to it, and more sensitive to it, than other. The Middle Ages like great spectacle, and therefore (if for no other reasons--but there were many) they liked ritual. They talked in ritual--blazons declared it. They were nourished by ritual--the Eucharist exhibited it. They made love by ritual--the convention of courtly love preserved it. Certainly also they did all these things without ritual--but ritual (outside the inner experience) was the norm. And ritual maintains and increases that natural sense of the significance of movement. And, of course, of formulae, of words." --Charles Williams