E. E. Cummings, Virginia Wolfe and Mark Twain are popular adult literature authors who will never (usually) make a top 10 list for children's books. But each of these authors and more have penned quirky, funny and beautiful children's stories.
SALT LAKE CITY - E. E. Cummings, Virginia Wolfe and Mark Twain are popular adult literature authors who will never (usually) make a top 10 list for children's books. But each of these authors and more have penned beautiful, funny and interesting children's stories that adults and kids alike should enjoy. These books offer fun and playful illustrations to help bring the stories to life. As an added bonus, if your local library doesn't have any copies, it shouldn't break your wallet to buy any of these - each book comes in under $20. 1. "Fairy Tales" by E.E. Cummings This Cubist author is more well-known for his poems, and not many people know about his collection of children's stories, especially since this book was published posthumously. This whimsical collection of four stories has been described as "fairy tales written for adults." His widow, Marion Morehouse Cummings, wrote the original preface and said, "These tales were written for Cummings' daughter, Nancy, when she was a very little girl." The four stories include "The Old Man Who Said Why," "The Elephant and the Butterfly," "The House that Ate Mosquito Pie" and "The Little Girl Named I." Each story shows the protagonist finding friendship with an unlikely playmate. The book is colorfully illustrated by Meilo So and is available on Amazon in hardback for $14. 2. "Advice to Little Girls" by Mark Twain Most people (and high school English students across the country) come to know author Mark Twain through his two most famous works, "Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer." But Twain also wrote a humorous and sweet children's story, "Advice to Little Girls." Don't be put off by the title - while it may be written to little girls, the sage life advice applies to kids and adults alike. The book was first published in "The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories" but has since been republished by Enchanted Lions Books with doodle-like illustrations by famous illustrator Vladimir Radunsky. "Trying to follow Twain's style, I wanted to make something along the lines of a scrapbook or an album that you could buy in any paper-goods store at the time," Radunsky wrote in the New York Review of Books. "Children used these small albums to paste in various curious objects, or for drawing, or just for doodling." The book is available on Amazon for $11. 3. "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" by Salman Rushdie British author Salman Rushdie has been knighted for his contributions to literature. Known as the first book Rushdie published after the controversial "The Satanic Verses," "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" was the first of only two children's books Rushdie has written and is the only chapter book included on this list. The book follows protagonist Haroun through a series of adventures as he goes to save the sea of stories. Along the way, he fights many foes trying to poison and drain the sea to stop its storytelling. The book alludes to several societal problems seen today. "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" is available on Amazon in hardcover for $14. 4. "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" by T.S. Eliot Do you know the inspiration for the musical "Cats"? Look no further than this fun and quirky book by T.S. Eliot. Eliot wrote a series of letters to his godchildren under the assumed name Old Possum. The playful poems about cats from the letters were rounded up and first published in 1930 with illustrations by Eliot. The newest edition includes illustrations by award-winning Axel Scheffler and can be found on Amazon in hardcover for $13. 5. "The Widow and the Parrot" by Virginia Wolfe Before she penned her most famous stories, Wolfe submitted a children's story to her nephews' newsletter The Charleston Bulletin, titled "The Widow and the Parrot." While her nephews, Quentin and Julian Bell, thought it was too trite and moralistic, the story captures the gentle spirit of Wolfe: After the widow's house burns down, she finds an unlikely friendship with a parrot that leads her to a hidden treasure. The story was left behind in old copies of the Bulletin until it surfaced years later and was republished in Redbook in 1982. Continuing to keep it in the family, the republished book was illustrated by Julian Bell's son and Wolfe's great-nephew, Julian Bell Jr. The book is available in hardback on Amazon for $16.%3Cimg%20src%3D%22http%3A//beacon.deseretconnect.com/beacon.gif%3Fcid%3D144961%26pid%3D46%22%20/%3E