Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Golden Oldies For Kids - Surprise on Wheels by Margaret Friskey

I was recently visiting my mother's home and found this "golden oldie" on her bookshelf. This is actually two stories about some very innovative children. "Surprise on Wheels and Wings Over The Woodshed", by Margaret Friskey, was published in 1945.
The words "Irving School, Sept. 1954" are stamped inside the cover of this book. Irving School was an elementary school in Higginsville, Missouri. This book must have been read many, many times because almost every page has been mended with tape.

This is a book for beginning readers. The book is illustrated with both color and black & white drawings.

About The Author
Margaret Friskey joined Childrens Press in 1946, the second employee to be hired in the new juvenile publishing house. She worked as an editor for the company for twenty-five years and directed the publication of over seven hundred books. She is the author of over twenty children's books.

Childhood Before the Days of Television
These two stories tell about three siblings who were very creative. Patsy and Peter were five years old. Billy was just two years old. Patsy and Peter knew how to build things with a hammer and saw. In "Surprise on Wheels", they found a big wooden box and built a boat. The boat would not "GO" so they decided to build a train. They were upset because they did not have any wheels and the train would not "GO".

Little Brother Bill said his big round wooden blocks could be wheels. The children attached the wheels to their train and the train went racing down the hill (with a push from the pet goat).

In "Wings Over The Woodshed", the children build a wooden airplane and their Uncle Joe helped them make it fly! Uncle Joe strings a rope between his barn and a neighbor's tree. He then uses a pulley to make the plane "fly" along the rope. They use the plane to rescue a neighbor's cat who is stuck in the tree.

My Thoughts
The children in this story were very innovative. It is hard to imagine five-year-old children being able to build vehicles like they did in these stories. The children seemed to be very skilled with the tools and there was no mention of safety issues in the book.

In the days before television, children had to entertain themselves. They had to use their imaginations to visit faraway kingdoms and play with whimsical characters. I think every child imagines building their own car, train or airplane. These children were doing what many dreamed of doing.

I think most parents today would hesitate to turn their young children loose in their workshop. I do think these stories illustrate a spirit of adventure that many children of that day displayed. It was wonderful to turn back the years and read a book that was treasured by children over 60 years ago.

Book Giveaway Winner!
Congratulations to Roberta for winning my book giveaway last week. I will be sending the signed copy of "Marketing Shortcuts for the Unemployed" to New Zealand this week.

Please share your thoughts in the Comments Section below.

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