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The Bobbsey Twins; or, Merry Days Indoors…

The Bobbsey Twins; or, Merry Days Indoors and Out (1904)

by Laura Lee Hope

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19. The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope (read in 1939) This is the first Bobbsey twin book. Those books were mostly read by girls but I read two of them--this one and The Bobbsey Twins in the Country. I must have been desperate for something to read. ( )
  Schmerguls | May 24, 2013 |
This book was a childhood favorite of my mom who enjoyed it back in the 1920s and 1930s. The story details the adventures and misadventures of the Bobbsey Twins -- Bert and Nan (8 years old) and Freddie and Flossie (4 years old). It harkens back to a much simpler time. Children's literature has progressed a great deal since this book was published, but I found myself enjoying it. There are certain words used (such as "queer") that have entirely different connotations for today's readers. There are times when children are left unsupervised to play outside which would never happen in today's books. It's a dated, but still enjoyable book. ( )
1 vote thornton37814 | Aug 3, 2012 |
I read the 1904 edition of this book. Text came from Project Gutenberg and then I formatted it for the Kindle. ( )
  elsi | Jul 15, 2009 |
This book is probably of interest only to collectors of vintage series books and people interested in books for children from the turn of the century. I first read it when I was eleven years old, and though I enjoyed it then, I was already discovering an interest in popular fiction from the past, and The Bobbsey Twins definitely is that.

I don't feel that it's a particularly well written book, and in my most recent reading, I had to push through to the end. There is no real overarching plot, rather it's a series of vignettes of the daily life of the Bobbsey children during the winter. The first takes place sometime in November, shortly before the first snowfall of the year, while the last is in February or early March.

The vignettes often have very little to do with one another, and they would make for perfectly lovely bedtime stories for children, except that rather than being split into chapters by scene, the splits tend to occur during the middle of the vignette in order to force a cliffhanger.

There are two things that tie the vignettes together. The first is Danny Rugg, a boy from school who bullies Bert terribly. He is probably the primary recurring character outside of the household. The second is a 'ghost' who appears at night to Bert early in the book, then shows up again towards the end to Nan, but other than the chapters expressly concerned with the ghost, no mention is made of it.

What made the Bobbsey Twins worth reading through for me is its record of life in 1903. Though it is fiction and cannot be completely trusted to share popular opinion of the upper middle class, there is still value in the way this book was read by children from that period and so must be at least somewhat representative, if rather utopian.

Two scenes especially stand out as "quaint" to me. The first is chapter two, "Jumping Rope, and What Happened Next," where Nan's friend Grace is skipping rope with the other girls. Her mother warns her to not do it too much or she'll be sick, but Grace decides that doesn't mean she ought to stop, so she dares the other girls that she can jump to 100. Unfortunately, she overexerts herself and faints dead away while in the 70s and the other girls fear they've killed her by turning the ropes and allowing her to continue jumping. This seemed awfully odd to me when I first read it, considering the modern opinions on jump rope, then I recalled that girls of this class and time would have been wearing constricting garments to make too much of certain kinds of exercise unwise (plus, girls simply weren't supposed to exert themselves too much).

The other scene is a short bit later in the book that describes Nan's dolls. She has five which are described from the most beautiful and important to her to the least, which is Jujube - a "colored" boy doll that was a gift from Sam and Dinah. It's really rather appalling to read the condescending description of the thing, which does all it can to say "look how good Nan is for not rejecting the gift, but also keeping it quite separate from the others, letting it know it is unwelcome." It's an example of the racism that is prevalent in the book, distilled to only three or four paragraphs, and never mentioned again.

So, I can't say that this is a particularly good book, or one that I would go out and recommend children read - even when I was eleven and naïve I recognized the condescending racism - but it is an interesting book, perhaps with some sociological or historical value to it. ( )
2 vote keristars | Mar 9, 2009 |
This edition contains the original 1904 text by Edward Stratemeyer himself. It's a book that does not stand the test of time, from the toddling prose all the way to the unselfconscious racism and misogyny. It's still readable as a primary sourse and historical curiosity, and in that context it's amusing and still entertaining in parts and gives a vivid picture of the limited worldview of a well-off Victorian child in the American Midwest. But I would not put it in the hands of a child without making sure they had all of that context available to them. ( )
2 vote melannen | Jul 23, 2006 |
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The Bobbsey twins were very busy that morning.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The Bobbsey Twins, or Merry Days Indoors and Out is the original version of this book from 1904. The Bobbsey Twins of Lakeport is a complete rewrite of the book dating to 1961. Source: http://home.netcom.com/~drmike99/Bobb...
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Book description
This is the first book in the Bobbsey Twins series, and as such it introduces the primary characters and shows many scenes from their daily life that they might grow familiar. Unlike the later books, there is no real mystery to be solved.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 155742523X, Paperback)

Bert had been asleep less than an hour when he awoke with a start. He felt sure somebody had touched him on the foot. He opened his eyes at once and looked toward the end of his bed.

The ghost was standing there!

At first Bert could scarcely believe that he saw aright. But it was true and he promptly dove under the covers.

Then he thought of Danny Rugg's cry, "Afraid of a ghost!" and he felt that he ought to have more courage.

"I'm going to see what that is," he said to himself, and shoved back the covers once more.

The figure in white had moved toward the corner of the room. It made no noise and Bert wondered how it would turn next.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:07 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Introducing the delightful and inquisitive Bobbsey children - Bert and Nan, eight years old and dark and thin; and Freddie and Flossie, four years old and blond and plump - two sets of high-spirited twins living in Lakeport, U.S.A.

» see all 4 descriptions

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