Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Story of Leather

The Story of Leather  -  1915
Sara Ware Bassett
246 pages 
genre  -  Young Adult, Educational
my rating  -  3 out of 5 stars

15-year-old Peter Coddington is a happy, handsome young man.  He excels at sports, has lots of friends, and is failing his classes at school.  At the end of the last term, Mr. Coddington had told Peter that he'd better get his grades up. 

But "instead he had drifted along, studying only enough to keep his head above water and putting all his zeal into tennis or baseball..."  Peter had not passed one of his exams.

Mr. Coddington informs Peter that he is to begin working at his tannery.  "To-morrow morning at eight o’clock you are going to work, and you must make good at the position I’ve found for you, or you will lose your place. If you do I shall not lift a finger to help you to find another.”

This book reminds me of those videos on Sesame Street or Mr. Roger's Neighborhood where we are taken on a tour of a factory to see the process of making crayons or something.  I believe the point of the book is to teach young adults about tanning techniques.  In order to make it interesting, the author inserted the facts of leather making into a story. 

Bassett's educational books include The Story of Lumber, The Story of Wool, The Story of Leather, The Story of Glass, The Story of Sugar, The Story of Porcelain, Paul and the Printing Press, Steve and the Steam Engine, Ted and the Telephone, Walter and the Wireless, and Carl and the Cotton Gin.

About the author  -

Sara Ware Bassett (1872–1968) was a prolific American author. Bassett graduated from the Lowell Institute Of Design at MIT as a textile designer and then studied writing at Radcliffe and Boston University. She taught kindergarten in the Newton Public Schools for twenty years.

Her first novel, Mrs. Christy's Bridge Party, was published in 1907. She subsequently wrote over forty additional novels, continuing to write and publish into the late 1950s. Many of her novels focus on love stories and humorously eccentric characters.

She was an accomplished artist and textile designer, and, with her sister, ran a summer retreat in Princeton, New Jersey for unattached Boston area women who worked in the retail trade.

She cut an unusual figure around town, resembling a character in an English detective novel. She dressed as one would think Miss Marple of Agatha Christie fame would have dressed in tweed skirts, a man's shirt and walking shoes.

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