This reviewer pays "Oliver Optic" the ultimate compliment, and remembers meeting the real "Peter Parley"--Samuel Goodrich, who was one of the most popular children's writers of the 19th century.


http://www.merrycoz.org/sgg/OPTIC.HTM

Review of Oliver Optic's books (from the New Englander and Yale Review, July 1872, p. 598)

Oliver Optic's Books for Boys*.--If, according to the familiar saying, he is a benefactor of the race who makes one blade of grass grow where no blade grew before, much more is he to be reckoned such who succeeds in making books, at once instructive and entertaining, for boys. Such is the good fortune of Mr. Optic (if we may designate him by his nom de plume). He appears to be the true successor of Peter Parley, who, in our boyish days, was the most interesting character then living. How were we disenchanted when, for the first time, we met him face to face, and, in the room of the venerable old man, leaning on a crutch, we found a spruce gentleman, in middle life! Optic, in the series before us, describes foreign countries in a style to captivate the minds of little folks. It is an example of the feasibleness of communicating to the young a great amount of valuable information without tiring their brains. The proof of the fruit is in the eating; and we have seen these books practically tested in the family. We wish to Mr. Oliver Optic--these great authors are fond of alliteration--a long life, and hope that he will continue to write books, until he has written enough to build a monument to himself as high as the clouds, and œre perennius.

* Young America Abroad, by Oliver Optic. 6 vols. Boston: Lee & Shepherd, 1872.


Copyright 1999-2006, Pat Pflieger
To "Nineteenth-Century American Children & What They Read"
Some of the children | Some of their books | Some of their magazines

To Titles at this site | Subjects at this site | Works by date
Map of the site