Kaleidoscope: The Adventures of Anthony

August 12, 2009


I grew up with a lovely book called ‘Kaleidoscope’ by Eleanor Farjeon written in 1928.  I don’t know anyone else that knows this book but if you can find it, read it.  It’s very imaginative and creative and of course, includes morals to some of the stories.

‘Kaleidoscope’ is a bunch of short stories about Anthony and his life.  It is named this because of what kaleidoscope means in Latin:   Kalos for beautiful, Eidos means image and Scopeo is for ‘I see’.  Beautiful image I see.  The book begins when Anthony is an adult and sort of reverses through his life like ‘The Memoirs of  Benjamin Button’ written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and now a very good movie.

The very first story in the book is about Anthony going to the theater to see the Roman puppets that have come to perform in London.   On opening night, the curtains parted and there on the stage was the most lovely creature Anthony had ever seen.  He returned night after night just to watch the Princess, transfixed and also despairing that he was not the puppet that kissed her back to life from the bewitched sleep after pricking her finger on a spindle cursed by the witch .

At long last, Anthony went to the magician Wizard that created the puppets and asked to be the Prince in the story.  He begged the Wizard, pleaded for one night to be the Prince.  Finally the Wizard relented and worked the spell upon Anthony to turn him into the marionette Prince.  Anthony was happy in his anticipation of the event to come.  The Wizard put a red coat on him and took him to the theater and Anthony was set aside until his moment came in the story.

Eagerly Anthony braved the enchanted forest where the Princess awaited.  He made his way to the castle full of cobwebs and fought the spider to it’s death, moving cobwebs aside to make his way to the couch of the sleeping Princess.  Trembling, he rushed to the couch and as he bent above her to kiss her – Ah! she was another.

In anguish, Anthony looked up at the Wizard, whose eyes clearly promised him nothing…  Anthony looked beyond the footlights and there in his seat was the Princess he wanted to kiss, just once.   This is not all of the story though and you would have to read it to learn the rest…

Later on in the book, Anthony is a kid and where he lives there is a pond.  The pond is called “The eye of the earth” because it reflects everything back.   Every so often, Anthony’s Mother will bring him a “Silver New Nothing”; a gift but nothing expensive or ever store bought yet treasure all the same.  You know, that little thing like a hostess gift or “I was thinking of you” type gifty. Usually that thing you’re happy to get but tend to forget?

Some of the other titles include:

What Hurts One, Hurts Another

The Trees That Made the Wind

The Hill of the Sun

Mammy Two Coats

The Man That Pretended to Eat

Anthony Wins a Marble Bathroom


2 Responses to “Kaleidoscope: The Adventures of Anthony”

  1. Syd said

    OOO Mer, thanks for the insight into that book. I would love to read that to my grand’chillin’. and isn’t it true when someone gives you a ‘silver new nothing’ a gift just because,wanting nothing in return, you can never forget it. It rocks your world.

  2. Anna said

    Hi, Meredith!

    I know that this book is one of the greatest and most interesting not only for children, but also for adults. Unfortunately I can’t find it anywhere… especially here, in Russia… Can You help?

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