On this day: Queen Victoria in London

Her_Majesty_Greeting_her_People,_Diamond_Jubilee_Pageant,_London,_England Queen Victoria riding a coach through a crowd of onlookers during her Diamond Jubilee procession. 22nd June 1897

Link to enlarge the image.

This photograph was taken in London on the 22nd of June, 1897. Queen Victoria, then aged seventy-eight, takes part in a procession in honour of her Diamond Jubilee – sixty years on the British throne.

The Queen would die less than four years after this image was taken.

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On this day: the “Protein Man” in London

Englishman Stanley Green, a self-styled “dietary reform activist” whose mission was to decrease people’s libidos by changing their diets, photographed on Oxford Street in London on the 21st of June, 1974.

100 years ago today: Edith Cavell returns home

Nurse Cavell at Westminster Abbey - After the Armistice her body was brought in state at Westminster Abbey, 15th May 1919.

From the collection of the Imperial War Museums

The body of British nurse Edith Cavell is depicted here being taken to Westminster Abbey in London for a state funeral on the 15th of May, 1919. The image was created by English artist Henry Rushbury.

Cavell, who had helped Allied soldiers escape German-occupied Belgium during the First World War, was arrested by German authorities and executed by firing squad on the 12th of October, 1915.

Cavell’s killing sparked international outrage, and the incident was used in war propaganda in the years following her death.

On this day: Victorian Children

Zeichnung_Kate_Greenaway_26th_March_1891 Kate Greenaway 26th March 1891

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This Victorian illustration was created by Englishwoman Kate Greenaway, and is dated the 26th of March, 1891.

Greenaway, who was born in London in 1846, was an internationally successful creator of children’s books and a painter of many watercolours.

The artist died in London in 1901.

On this day: the death of Granny Smith

Granny_Smith Maria Ann Sherwood known as Granny Smith Granny Smith Apple Inventor 19th Century Victorian Australia Victorian Era

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Maria Ann Smith – known as Granny Smith – the creator of the green “Granny Smith” apple, died in the colony of New South Wales, Australia on the 9th of March, 1870.

In 1868 Smith was handed a box of French crab apples from Tasmania at a market in Sydney. After she used them for baking, she discovered a seed in the discarded peels had sprouted in a compost heap. She continued to tend it in its place near a creek.

After her death the property’s new owner marketed the fruit as “Granny Smith”.

Smith married in England, having eight children (who survived early childhood) before emigrating to Australia in 1838.

On this day: a future Queen arrives in Britain

The_Landing_of_HRH_The_Princess_Alexandra_at_Gravesend,_7th_March_1863_by_Henry_Nelson_O'NeilThe Landing of HRH The Princess Alexandra at Gravesend, 7th March 1863 Henry Nelson O'Neil di

Princess Alexandra of Denmark, the future Queen of the United Kingdom, is depicted in this painting by Henry Nelson O’Neil arriving in England on the 7th of March, 1863.

Alexandra travelled to Gravesend in Kent, England by royal yacht to marry Prince Albert Edward, the future King Edward VII.

The royal couple married three days later, on the 10th.

The Cottingley Fairies by Ana Sender

The Cottingley Fairies by Ana Sender

Fairies exist and these girls have proof!

Elsie and Frances feel sad for adults who simply can’t see the magic in the forests around them. If only they could see what we see. Taking photos is like opening windows . . .

And that’s just what they did.

In 1918, Elsie Wright and her cousin Frances Griffith photographed fairies in their garden, in the small village of Cottingley (Yorkshire). Without expecting it, many people paid attention—including renowned writer and spiritualist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Although initially reluctant, the famous author convinced a large part of public opinion.

This is the story, narrated by Elsie herself, of the true events.

The Cottingley Fairies by Ana Sender

In the 1910s, two cousins in West Yorkshire, England became famous after releasing photographs of what they claimed to be real fairies. Many people were tricked into believing the girls, including – infamously – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame.

Cottingley_Fairies_1The first of the five photographs, taken by Elsie Wright in 1917, shows Frances Griffiths with the alleged fairies.

It was decades before one of the women involved admitted that the pictures were faked; the other maintained until her death that while four were fake, the fifth and final one was real.

Cottingley-sunbathFairies and Their Sun-Bath, the fifth and last photograph taken of the Cottingley Fairies, the one that Frances Griffiths insisted was genuine.

The fifth picture.

I remember learning about these “fairies” as a child, but the fact they were fake was never in question.

Any author of a children’s book on this topic is going to have to make the decision: do you present facts, or do you go along with the assertion that the fifth image really was of fairies?

Ana Sender has chosen to finish her book with the possibility fairies do, in fact, exist, and that the girls really photographed them.

A smart choice? A silly one? Coming from someone who never believed in Santa, I’m probably not the best one to judge…

Sender’s take on the “Cottingley Fairies” uses childlike illustrations, which will appeal to some readers, while others will prefer something more magical for the subject matter. I’ve noticed a trend in this sort of illustration in recent children’s books.

Unfortunately, my review copy was disastrous. In ebook form, it began halfway through the book, the text didn’t appear until the midway point, and I was glad there wasn’t a lot of it to decipher the order of!

As always, buy books for younger readers in paper form.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.