BOW-WOW AND MEW-MEW is one of the few books for beginners in reading that may be classed as literature. Written in words of mostly one syllable, it has a story to tell, which is related in so attractive a manner as to immediately win the favor of young children.
It teaches English and English literature to the child in the natural way: through a love for the reading matter. It is the character of story that will, in the not distant future, replace the ordinary primer or reader with detached sentences, and which seldom possesses any relation to literature.
The ultimate objects of any story can only be effected through the love for a story.
The prominent point in this story is development of good character, which may well be regarded as the highest purpose of education. The transformation from bad to good traits in the dog and cat cannot but have a desirable effect on every child that reads the story.
Bow-Wow and Mew-Mew become dissatisfied with their home and their surroundings, and ungrateful toward their benefactress. As the story tells, ''They did not find good in any thing.'' But after running away and suffering hunger, neglect, and bad treatment, their characters begin to change. They naturally come to reflect their mistress's goodness. They learn the value of companionship and friendship, and the appreciation of a home. However, the ethical thoughts in the story are presented without a moral.
The child really lives the scenes described. He has the emotions of the characters and feels their convictions. And this determines the worth of a story as an agent in character development.
The narrative furnishes, further, the proper kind of exercise for the imagination. It affords abundant opportunity for the play of the dramatic instinct in the child, and effects a happy union of the ''home world'' and the ''school world.''
The illustrations, drawn by Miss Hodge, have been planned and executed with considerable care.