For Young and Old

Another new Atlantic book, Which like its predecessor, The Firelight Fairy Book, may eventually make its own way into school libraries, is The Starlight Wonder Book, by the same author, Henry B. Beston. This will not be published until the early autumn, but a foretaste of its quality is to be found in ‘The Wonderful Tune,’ an imaginative tale defined as ’A Fantasy’ and printed in this issue of the Atlantic.

Mr. Beston, as the author calls himself, has had an interesting career. After his graduation at Harvard he taught the English tongue in his own university, and, appropriately enough for one whose descent is half French, at the University of Lyons. Before the United States entered the war he drove an ambulance in France, and produced a book, A Volunteer Poilu, out of his experience. Another book, Full Speed Ahead, resulted from his later experience as a war correspondent with the American Navy. Then came The Firelight Fairy Book, and a term in the editorial office of the Living Age. A picturesque background for his recent activities has been found in one of the very few seventeenth-century New England dwellings, the ‘ Parson Capen House,’ owned by the Topsfield (Massachusetts) Historical Society and occupied for the greater part of the year by Mr. Beston.

From such a writer no commonplace book is to be expected. In The Starlight Wonder Book, which will be illustrated, like The Firelight Fairy Book, by Mr. Maurice Day, Mr. Beston has produced what those who have read it regard as a piece of literature by no means only for the young. A poetic imagination, a lively sense of humor, a fertility of invention, and a gift of stirring narrative combine to make it a notable book of a type none too common in America.