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The Water-babies ❰BOOKS❯ ✯ The Water-babies Author Charles Kingsley – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk A beautifully packaged 150th anniversary gift edition of a classic favoriteWhen Tom a young chimney sweep falls into a river and drowns he is transformed from a 12 year old boy who has known nothing A beautifully packaged th anniversary gift edition of a classic favoriteWhen Tom a young chimney sweep falls into a river and drowns he is transformed from a year old boy who has known nothing but brutality and poverty into a water baby In an underwater world surrounded by fairies insects and water nymphs he soon discovers a new life of adventure and excitement.

  • Hardcover
  • 221 pages
  • The Water-babies
  • Charles Kingsley
  • English
  • 20 July 2016
  • 9780230770331

About the Author: Charles Kingsley

Charles Kingsley was an English clergyman university professor historian and novelist particularly associated with the West Country and north east HampshireHe was educated at Helston Grammar School before studying at King's College London and the University of Cambridge Charles entered Magdalene College Cambridge in and graduated in He chose to pursue a ministry in the church.



10 thoughts on “The Water-babies

  1. Manny Manny says:

    Googling around to see if anyone knows who Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby and Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid are based on I have often wondered about this I discover by chance that the author invented the word 'cuddly' which first appeared in The Water Babies Well there's your useless fact for today

  2. Sean Barrs Sean Barrs says:

    How many people can say that drowning was the best thing that’s ever happened to them? Life is terrible for Tom He’s an ordinary boy and he’s in an ordinary situation Granted it’s a tough situation but it’s still rather ordinary for the time His master beats him and overworks him This is the only life Tom knows; thus when he grows old he will follow the same path It’s not his fault; he hasn’t known any different For him his master is the embodiment of manliness it’s what Tom thinks he has to be So he’s on a dangerous path and then he drowns The real word is escape because Tom gets turned into a Waterbaby and goes on an adventure of discovery He sees things that many though were mere fictions and in the process learns a little about life in the process And that’s the key here learning This is a children’s book and all children’s books are full of didacticism of some variety This one is full of Christian dogma and Victorian world values Tom gets to experience the meaning of life at least from the perspective of Kingsley and the imperialistic attitude that went with himSo we have a children’s book an enjoyable book but there are a few derogatory jibes on a gender and racial level This book is a product of its time and it’s an excellent text to study though I can clearly see why it has fallen out of favour with contemporary audiences I wouldn’t hand this to a child today

  3. Almeta Almeta says:

    I have no idea what edition I read as a child but I do know that I harbor huge nostalgia about the book's weird adventures and pen and ink illustrations Every time I see the title at a used book sale I reflect on my childhoodNow as an adult having read Goodreads reviews I wonder what I would think of it The implied tone of bigotry and morialist snake oil makes me pause about my ratingFor now it gets my best When I re read it I will likely be angry and ashamedETA What I believe was designed to be an allegory for his son was also a treatise of progressive thoughts of the day I am so pleased to have re read this book I was afraid that I would come to dislike it because of the criticism it receives for prejudices and moralizing I think this aspect of the book is a good reflection of nineteenth century philosophical thought However Kingsley's scientific references make me believe that he was a progressive thinker for his time The most wonderful and the strongest things in the world you know are just the things which no one can seeI took lots of notes during this read There are so many good little moral lessons to reflect upon I wonder how this little boy actually turned out when he became a man? I could't just write them all down It would be like writing the book over again in long handGuess I'll just have to read it again perhaps an annotated versionMy rating still stands at five stars

  4. Rebecca McNutt Rebecca McNutt says:

    The Water Babies is one of those books that I see often in any number of various editions at used book sales and antiue bookstores It's a story which hasn't aged well and which often appears nonsensical Its readers today are mostly nostalgic adults not children as the themes are very dark all things considered Nevertheless I did like The Water Babies There's something about it that made me want to rate it higher than my initial impression of the story There is a contemporary fairy tale which I read last year Sweep The Story of a Girl and Her Monster which I enjoyed but the underlying themes of exploitation and greed were a shared commonality between both books The Water Babies much like Sweep follows a tormented child chimney sweep with a cruel master I honestly think The Water Babies would have been much better if it had been written as a book for adults to show them the reasons why child labour is wrong Instead The Water Babies serves as a bizarre somewhat bigoted afterlife story for children with religion thrown in at odd times Its main character Tom whose tragic and short life mostly consisted of his job as a chimney sweep has to redeem himself in the afterlife an idea which seems rather strange This wasn't a bad kid or a kid who did anything really wrong in his life yet he has to redeem himself through good behaviour and good deeds Maybe Charles Kingsley was going for some kind of pay it forward fable? I ended up taking two stars off my rating for the pervasive racism and anti Irish sentiments which in historical context may have made sense but still did nothing for the story There is a religionscience post Enlightenment thing going on in the background too which may have done better in a non fiction essay or as an allegorical parallel in this story I can see why a lot of children who grew up with The Water Babies found it odd It's a good fairy tale for the first fifty or so pages a story of a poor chimney sweep who meets a wealthy girl but is then caught with her and through misunderstanding he ends up drowning and being saved by a fairy but much of the book's content is of a bigoted commentary on society It's a very weird story but it does have some admirable ualities

  5. Debra Debra says:

    I know this book is pretty controversial but I enjoyed it in spite of that As accepted during that time in history there is definitely some prejudice against other races and nationalities especially the Irish The Englishman rules and all others are inferior But I just took this as British pride of course and Englishman would think his nationality is the best back in the day Also if you aren't Christian then you are a heathen No news here either However I was amazed at Kingsley forward thinking regarding the environment and pollution and the raising of children in a kind and forgiving manner No spare the rod spoil the child sentiment here He doesn't believe in physical psychological verbal punishment It's cute how he talks directly to his 4 year old for whom he wrote the book I can't believe I went this long without reading this lovely little classic The edition I read had lovely illustrations too

  6. Wanda Wanda says:

    What a weird little book I owned a copy of this book as a child and never read it Now I know why lots of it is just so much babble to a child Without the historical notes in this copy of the work I wouldn’t have had a clue about a lot of the details included in it I have to wonder who gave it to me way back when and whether they had ever read it themselves? I certainly wouldn’t hand it to a contemporary childI found it interesting that the clergyman author was so easily able to accept Darwin’s theory of evolution Beliefs weren’t uite so cut and dried at that time apparently I also have to think that Kingsley had read Gulliver’s Travels and may have aspired to produce something similar His comments on contemporary events seemingly scattered at random through the text suggest those aspirations It was also a strange mix of mythology fairy tales and Christianity Very very odd

  7. wrench wrench says:

    I literally drop kicked this book into a bin

  8. Courtney Courtney says:

    written 1862 1863Reading this once was enough Future self if you ever forget what reading it was like and consider giving it another go? Don'tA young chimney sweep who is mistreated by his master accidentally frightens a young girl in the house they are working in He runs off fearing he'll be in trouble and ends up drowning I enjoyed it up until this point It was apparently meant to be a lesson on amongst other things child labor and the treatment of the boy by his master would be a good argument against It actually seemed like it might have been better if the story ended hereBut it doesn'tSo for the next however many pages we have to follow the kid around as he apparently turns into a baby newt and explores a river and later an ocean tormenting the wildlife as he goes It's also got a pretty heavy handed focus on him learning to be a good person and redeeming himself by good behaviour Kind of interesting as a look at British attitudes towards the rest of the world during this time period Would not have wanted to be Irish in England at this time The English didn't like Americans much either from a couple passages I remember which was a little funny just because it seems so odd

  9. Mike Horne Mike Horne says:

    Wow that was bad In college I went through a Charles Kingsley phase Westward Ho Hypatia Alton Locke I remember reading this and thinking it was good Probably the most wrong opinion I have ever held The tone is so smarmy you just want to slap the author who is rabidly anti irish Here is probably the best uote of the book which gives you a taste Now you may fancy that Tom was uite good when he had everything that he could want or wish but you would be very much mistaken Being uite comfortable is a very good thing; but it does not make people good Indeed it sometimes makes them naughty as it has made the people in America; and as it made the people in the Bible who waxed fat and kicked like horses overfed and underworkedLewis Carrol or George MacDonald is so much better

  10. Nicole Nicole says:

    Why must you torture the children Charles?When I read that Charles Kingsley and Charles Darwin had been friends I was so disappointed Why? Why didn't dear Mr D pull aside Mr K and gently offer a sort of I say old boy This is bananas You know Like they do Or should haveI started listening to a librivox recording while I was painting the room that is to become my new office library I had read about this author and had seen the title and knew vaguely that Mr K was writing at about the same time as Edith Nesbit and George MacDonald and I have been aware of their influence on contemporary fiction for children So why not give it a whirl? The reader's voice was pleasing which is not always the case and heck it's freeChapter One Social reform on the menu the old chimney sweep noble poor trope got it Chapter Two I remember a WHAT HECK moment at the very end of At the Back of the North Wind so I was a little bit prepared for some whackadoodle but I did not expect Babies to go off the rails so uickly Even though it just went from bad to worse from there I kept listening in a kind of Stockholm Syndrome haze There are a few chuckle worthy lines in those early chapters and I could see that there was a religion science theme going that was moderately interesting insofar as it gives an idea of the struggle at that time to reconcile new ideas about the world But mostly I felt I was seeing for the first time the primary source material that must have had a great influence on my father when he was a child and that gave me a sense of morbid fascination So I pressed onwardBut then I had to listen to chapter five twice because I was thinking of other things and by that time I was finished with the second coat of paint and the weekend was over and listening time too I didn't so much feel compelled to finish the book because I was wrapped up in the story; I merely wanted to say I'd finished it So I nipped over to the library to pick up a print copy thinking I could read skim to the end I found not one but two copies One version very old no publication date had only been checked out once in 1926 And the other a critical edition edited by Richard Kelly 2008 had never been checked out at all HintGuess what? In print still not compelling The appendices with critical essays were interesting but the text itself? I just couldn't do it I may never finish those last chapters If I were writing a dissertation yes For pleasure no Absolutely notOn the whole it's a strange combination of bizarre and tediously morally superior with a dash of charm thrown in now and again Why would you subject a child to this? Or anyone? Just don't

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