Wednesday, August 29, 2012

School children find a new make-believe world

The New York Globe was the flagship paper for "Little Stories for Bedtime" but the Kansas City Star was in many ways its spiritual home. The special connection between TWB's stories and the children of Kansas City was recognized as early as September 17, 1912.

All in Reddy Fox roles

School Children here find a new make-believe world

A visitor passing a South Side playground yesterday heard pupils calling each other by the "Bedtime Stories" hero names.

The "Bedtime Stories" by Thornton W. Burgess, which are being published in The Star, are gaining in popularity among the children of Kansas City. Every day telephone calls come and letters arrive at the office asking about the queer little animals that Mr. Burgess has succeeded in making so real to his youthful readers, and to grown-ups too, for that matter.

The slight interruption in the series a week or so ago brought an unusual number of inquiries and only their resumption ended the deluge of solicitude expressed for the safe return of Reddy Fox and the other inhabitants of the Green Forest.

A man was passing a South Side school ground the other day.

"Where's Reddy Fox? He has to be here or we can't play," a voice said.

"Somebody c'n go 'n get him. Let me go, Peter Rabbit," a fat boy, who, it developed, had been dubbed Johnny Chuck, spoke up eagerly.

"Naw, you stay here," Peter Rabbit said, " 'sides nobody knows where he lives."

"What's his name and I c'n find him," persisted Johnny Chuck.

"Reddy Fox is all the name he's got," and, strange to say, Peter Rabbit was right; nobody knew the missing Reddy Fox by any other except his chosen name.

"And has everybody got new names?" the listener interposed. The youthful scorn of ignorance was apparent. Peter Rabbit looked him up and down.

"Get wise, mister," he said, "we've all changed our names. There's Jimmy Skunk, and there's Bobby Coon," and Peter Rabbit pointed out successively a half dozen different characters that appear regularly in the Little Bedtime Stories.

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