Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Melisande, Or Long and Short Division

Melisande, Or Long and Short Division, by E. Nesbit, is a literary fairy tale that incorporates mathematics. Perhaps when I made Princess Division for my Royal Math Gnomes, I unconsciously had this story in the back of my mind. Lucia enjoyed it very much. While you can read the story in its entirety, I read the story aloud from a collection called Stories for Eight Year Olds. When I was in second grade, I had a book from the same series called Stories for Seven Year Olds, which I enjoyed very much. Sara Corrin, the editor, and I seem to have similar tastes in stories, so I am going to look for her other collections available in the library.

5 comments:

tanita davis said...

I really love the name Melisande. I am doubly pleased that in fiction she's a mathematician instead of just a doomed lover. A much better fate!

Saints and Spinners said...

What I just now realized about the story is that the four most prominent characters-- the king, the queen, Melisande and Florizel-- are all characters who manage to have some depth to them, which is possible in a literary fairy tale in a way it usually isn't in an oral fairy tale. They each portray wisdom in some form, but also display foolishness (or rather, lack of thinking things through). Cleverness alone is not enough-- one must learn wisdom as well.

Charlotte said...

Goodness, I have never read this, and me a Nesbit fan and all....thanks for bringing it to my attention!

The LIbrary Lady said...

I LOVE that story. It was in a paperback collection of princess tales I had as a kid.

Here at the library I have a picture book edition of the story with wonderful illustrations by Lynch. SC never was into princesses, but JR read it and enjoyed it. It's really a bigger kids story--lots of wonderful jokes that wouldn't appeal to the "Disney Princess" besotted preschoolers!

Saints and Spinners said...

Library Lady: I'd meant to check for a picture-book version, and I thank you for pointing me to it. I've just ordered a used copy as a present for Lucia.

Charlotte: You're welcome! I really need to reread Nesbit. I read everything on my mom's shelf when I was a little girl, but I know I missed quite a bit in terms of comprehension of the subtleties.