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The Elephant's Bathtub: 08/05/07
I picked up The Elephant's Bathtub because I knew Harriet would like the first story in the collection and because I like the jolly orange cover. I also have a thing about story collections for children. I have a acquired a number of them over the last two decades.
The book's secondary title is "Wonder Tales from the Far East" and certainly these stories do take place in that part of the world but the writing at times is rather dry. I don't know the dull writing is a result of the style requirements put on text books in the 1960s or from being watered down from the original public domain works listed in the front of the book.
The stories should be more captivating than they are since they involve far away places, legends, gods, talking animals, magic and other elements of fantasy and adventure. Unfortunately the language is so stilted and so carefully chosen to not be too hard to read or too confusing that the adventure is diluted right out the stories. Also they suffer from a heavy handed approach to making sure every story has some sort of moral at the end. Characters get what they deserve because of how they act. I could just about imagine the narrator saying at the end of each story: "See I told you so..."
Nonetheless, I did enjoy a few of the stories in this collection, including the title piece and I'm hoping as my children grow they might enjoy reading some of them too. For the moment I'm hanging onto The Elephant's Bathtub but I might BookCross it in the future.