On my second report on my 1959 Summer Reading Club list I find
It was a favorite: a girl in Holly Hotel writes
posters that advertise her old house as a hotel, and the guests arrive. With beautiful illustrations, the story is
enriched with fictional history about the Scotland Village
of Whistleblow, named, sadly, for the
story of an unsuspecting shepherd led to betray his neighbors to the Redcoats
during a war with . England
Near the end, Mollie Maitland uses the N word.
In context, her use of the N word is a short moment, a reference to vulgarity comes twelve pages before it - a character says, “Are ye so ignorant as not to know that knock’s the old Scotch word for clock?” And another ‘ “Aye, so it is, but Rowena says it’s awful vulgar.. “” On the internet, I find the reference she makes – She refers to a book called Ten Litte N. Boys -
Ten little n boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self, and then there were nine.
The fourteen-page picture book with the verses is on the internet at
Social change and cultural change since the nineteen-fifties make it necessary that new books reflect the experience new children have. To read an old children’s book can be a useful reminiscence. We can reflect on the social change, the cultural change, the demographic change.
We can wonder what other reasons place a book like Holly Hotel: A Mystery in university libraries of historic children’s books. Among possible reasons is that fact that one of the several sub-plots, a lost poem, is by a fictional Scottish-American Writer – perhaps they object to fictional history for children. Three of those who arrive at Mollie Maitland’s hotel are adult men who smoke. Active descriptions of these men include lighting cigarettes, leaving a tobacco pouch behind as a diversion, coughing because of the smoke. There is violence in
There are new authors as well, so new books are a natural change.