Butterscotia by Edward Abbott Parry

This is a really old book which I bought because of its title, it’s subtitled A Cheap Trip to Fairyland and is one of those books which can be read by children of all ages. It was first published in 1896 but it has been reprinted fairly recently although I don’t think the reprint can have any illustrations as it only has 44 pages and the original has 170, so something doesn’t quite add up.

The author Edward Abbott Parry was a county court judge and he wrote books on law as well as the children’s books which he originally wrote to entertain his four children. If Butterscotia was inspired by the Parry family’s life then it must have been a fun family to grow up in, with a punning father who had a great imagination.

It does begin rather brutally if you are tender-hearted, especially towards pigs, Lord Emsworth of Blandings would definitely not approve as the pig in this story was a very discontented one and was always complaining about the food that it was given and so to stop the complaining the pig was given more and more delicious food, but still complained. The pig’s owner didn’t know what to do about it but the butcher solved the problem for him. It’s a harsh way of learning two lessons. The first one being don’t pamper people and the second one don’t moan all the time as things could be worse – you could be sausages!

The rest of the book is more akin to Alice in Wonderland although it doen’t have quite the craziness of that book, but probably Judge Parry wasn’t on the same sort of mind-bending drugs as dear old Lewis Carroll almost certainly was.

Four children want to take a trip to Butter-Scotia:

“I’ve certainly heard of Butter-Scotch,” said Pater musingly, “but I never heard of Butter-Scotia.”

“You’ve forgotten your geography, that is all. It’s all in the book. Don’t you remember Butter-Scotia, chief town Sugar-borough on the River Treacle. Butter-Scotia is bounded on the north by the Gulf of Funland, on the west by Cocoa Nut Iceland, on the south by the Caramel Mountains, and on the east by the A B Sea or Sea of Troubles. Chief imports – none. Chief exports crackers and goodies.”


Pater thinks that the Slapland tour would do his children the most good but he relents and they go to Butter-Scotia.

I can’t find any mention of this book having been read or reviewed by anybody else and I had to import it onto Goodreads manually. It’s a shame it isn’t better known as it is a fun read and really quite witty and clever. I expected it to be available on Project Gutenberg or some such place but no such luck.

Christmas Books

So continuing our no nonsense so no disappointments way of ‘doing’ Christmas gifts, I also got quite a few books which I had seen over the past couple of months and asked Jack to buy them for me and put them away for Christmas. I always forget exactly what has been bought so it’s the only way of getting a good surprise as far as I’m concerned.

The Grateful Sparrow cover

Here are a few of them, these ones are all children’s books:

The Grateful Sparrow by Angela Thirkell.

This is a children’s book – possibly the first she ever wrote and the only children’s one – and is apparently quite difficult to get a hold of but Jack got it for me at a very reasonable price from ebay. My copy is a 1935 publication and has 24 illustrations by Ludwig Richter. It does say that the tales are taken from the German by Angela Thirkell and the dedication is to the memory of the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Berthold Auerbach and their translators, known and unknown. So it would seem that this book is more of a compilation put together by Angela Thirkell, rather than actually written by her. The illustrations are quite nice in a Germanic sort of way.

The Story of Peter Pan cover

The Story of Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.

I have quite a collection of various Peter Pan editions, including a Mabel Lucy Atwell illustrated one, but when I saw this one at Ingliston fair, I snapped it up for all of £2. It’s illustrated by Alice B. Woodward, whom I hadn’t heard of but I like her work, especially the front cover. It was first issued in 1914 but my edition is from 1951.

Butter Scotia cover

Butterscotia (A Cheap Trip to Fairyland) by Edward Abbott Parry and illustrated by Archie MacGregor. I first saw this book in an antiquarian bookshop near York Minster but it was £30 which is more than I would normally pay for a book. I had a look on the internet and got it a lot cheaper. I feel slightly guilty about it because if the bookshop has disappearred the next time I’m in York I’ll feel that I’ve contributed to putting them out of business. But on the other hand we don’t have money to fling about and it doesn’t seem to be available as an ebook although I’ve just realised that it has been reprinted in paperback fairly recently. It is obviously influenced by Alice in Wonderland and seems to be good fun from what I’ve read of it. My copy is an 1896 one, complete with pull out map.

More Christmas books tomorrow.