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All About Johnnie Jones

All About Johnnie Jones

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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All About Johnnie Jones

Johnnie Jones

All About

Carolyn Verhoeff

Diantha W. Horne




Published by
Milton Bradley Company





Copyright, 1907, by





In Loving Memory
The Beautiful Life of One Little Child
Meldrum Adams Hartwell
These Stories are Dedicated
All Little Children





These stories have been written with but one object, to give pleasure to little children, while helping them to realize, in so far as they are able, the highest ideals of childhood.





It gives me sincere pleasure to introduce to mothers and kindergartners a pioneer writer in the unexplored field of simple, realistic stories for little children.

Miss Verhoeff is a trained kindergartner who has brought to her profession a college training as well as a true devotion to children.

It was in one of the free kindergartens situated in the less fortunate localities of Louisville that the stories of Johnnie Jones came into being, and grew in response to the demand of the little ones for stories about real children.

In the beautiful world of fairy-lore we have a rich and splendidly exploited field of immortal literature. The old, old stories of fairies and elves, of giants and dwarfs, of genii, princes, and knights with their wonder-working wands, rings and swords, will never grow threadbare; while the spiritual, artistic and literary value of these stories in the life of child-imagination can never be overestimated. Enchanting and valuable as they are, however, they should not blind us to the need for standard realistic stories of equal literary and poetic merit.

A child needs not only the touch of the wonder-working wand which transports him to a land of fascinating unrealities, but also the artistic story which reflects the every-day experiences of real life; artistic in that it touches these daily experiences with an idealism revealing the significance and beauty of that which the jaded taste of the adult designates as "commonplace." That all children crave the story which is, or might be, true is evidenced by the expression of their faces when their inevitable question, "is it really true?" or "did it really happen?" is answered in the affirmative.

Perhaps some of us can recall the pleasure derived from old-fashioned school readers of an earlier day. With all their faults they at least did not overlook the value of standard realistic stories. In these readers was found the very moral story of the boy who won the day because of his forethought in providing an extra piece of whipcord. There was also "Meddlesome Matty," and the honest office-boy, the heroic lad of Holland, and the story of the newly liberated prisoner who bought a cage full of captive birds and set them free. These and many others still persist in memory, and point with unerring aim to standards of human behavior under conditions which are both possible and probable. In spite of their imperfections and stern morality these stories were valuable because they recited the fundamental events of human and animal existence, in relations which revealed the inevitable law of cause and effect, and the ethical and poetic significance of man's relation to all life.

As soon as children begin to realize the distinction between the world of make-believe and the world of actuality, or, as one small boy expressed it, "what I can see with my eyes shut, and what I can see when I open them," they are fascinated with stories of real life, of "when Father was a little boy," or "when Mother was a little girl," or "when you were a tiny baby." This demand of the child for realistic stories is the expression of a real want which should be satisfied with good literature.

Before children are enabled by their experience to discriminate between the imaginary and the actual world, they make no distinction between the story of real life and the fairy tale. During this early period a story relating the most ordinary events of every-day life is accepted in the same spirit, and may provoke as much or as little wonder, as the story dealing with the most marvelous happenings of the supernatural world. For to the child at this stage of development it is no more wonderful that trees and animals should converse in the language of men than that a little boy should do so. Until children learn that, as a matter of fact, plants and animals do not participate in all of the human activities, they regard as perfectly natural stories in which such participation is taken for granted. On the other hand a realistic story representing some of the most universal aspects of human existence may provoke surprise as the child discovers that his own experiences are common to many other lives and homes. This was evidenced by the remark of a small boy who, at the end of a story relating the necessary sequence of activities common to the countless thousands of heroic mothers, washing and ironing the family linen, waggishly shook his finger at the narrator, and with a beaming smile, said: "Now you know that it is my Ma and Tootsie you are telling about!" John had not discovered the fact that the story which reflected the daily service of his beloved mother reflected equally well the service of thousands of other mothers. He saw only the personal experience in the common reality and recognized it with joy. When through similar stories of daily life a child learns to know that his experiences constitute the common lot, his first feeling of surprise gives place to a greater joy, and sympathy is born.

The stories of Johnnie Jones were not premeditated but grew in response to daily requests for "more about Johnnie Jones." They are the record of a most ordinary little boy, good as can be to-day, forgetting to obey to-morrow; a life history in which many other little lives are reflected in the old, old process of helping the child to adapt himself to the standards of society.

The ideal has been to deal with the ordinary events of daily life in a manner which will reveal their normal values to the child. There is the friendly policeman who finds the lost boy; the heroic fireman who comes to the rescue of the burning home; the little neighbor who would not play "fair;" the little boy who had to learn to roll his hoop, and to care for the typical baby brother who pulled his hair; there are the animals who entered into the joys and sorrows of the Jones family,—altogether, very real animals, children, and "grown-ups," learning in common the lessons of social life.

The moral throughout is very pointed, and may be considered too obvious by many kindergartners, who do not feel the need of such insistence in their work. Mothers, however, with normal four-year-old boys who are likely to follow the music down the street and get lost, or who are equally liable to fall in the pond because they forget to obey Father, will find a strange necessity for pointing the moral in no uncertain tone.

The stories are so arranged that they may be read singly or as a serial.

I am sure the author will feel more than repaid if this little collection