The Water Babies- Beth and Chrissi do kid-lit challenge


How did I get it?:
Downloaded free on my Kindle


The story follows Tom in his land-life as a climbing boy for a chimney-sweep and in his after-life as a water-baby, where he gains redemption from selfishness as well as from drudgery. On to his fantasy Kingsley grafts a series of digressions and comic asides, through which he comments on a range of contemporary issues.


This is the second book in my sister and I’s kid-lit challenge. I remember watching the film of The Water Babies quite frequently in my childhood, but I could never remember reading the book. So when we decided to complete this challenge, The Water Babies was a given in our choices for the year.

The Water Babies is quite long considering it is a children’s book. I found the writing quite heavy and far too long winded for a piece of children’s literature. Whilst reading it I found myself preferring the film which doesn’t happen a lot for me. I’m usually all about the books!

The Water Babies is a fairy tale about a young chimney sweep, Tom, who drowns in a river and becomes a Water Baby. Tom goes on a spiritual journey to become a better person. It was such a sweet idea and could’ve really worked for me but I ended up being bored of the constant side-tracking and rambling that often happened. So if I, an adult, got bored of it then surely children would to?

So overall, I don’t think I would recommend this for a child. I think there are much more suitable books out there and although this book is considered a classic, it really fell short for me. Perhaps Bibiliobeth will feel differently to me? Check out her review HERE

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi do kid-lit challenge (March):
The Phantom Tollbooth- Norton Juster


5 thoughts on “The Water Babies- Beth and Chrissi do kid-lit challenge

  1. WOW! Talk about a blast from the past – this was my little sister’s favorite book when we were little. What I remember are beautiful pictures – glossy pages begging to be touched inserted between the heavy pages filled with text. I vaguely remember the sweep swimming in the river and coming upon a group of waterbabies lolling around. I had NO idea they’d made a movie of it … I wonder if my 50 something sister would still like to see it? I’m not surprised you found the language heavy and longwinded as it was written before the turn of the last century! My sister and I read it in the late 50’s early 60’s.
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.! I see you have The Phantom Tollbooth coming up;; despite all the Harry Potters, The Phantom Tollbooth was his favorite childhood book. I’m glad you stopped by my post and brought me such interesting news. 🙂

    • I remember really loving the movie. I think I might have to watch the film again! I’m sure your sister would love to see the film. If she doesn’t mind her favourite book being adapted to a film. Thank you so much for your kind comment!

  2. Hi Chrissi,

    I too am in the 50 something age range and can well remember reading and thoroughly enjoying ‘The Water Babies’ as a child, so your post was also a trip down memory lane for me.

    When I was young, books were something you only has bought for you as birthday and Christmas presents, the rest of the time my reading material came courtesy of the local library. So I was ecstatic that ‘The Water Babies’ was the first book I actually owned as a gift, although a trip into hospital to have my tonsils removed was necessary first!

    I didn’t ever see the film of the book, so I can’t comment on that, but I am only sorry that you didn’t enjoy the book a little more.

    I hope that you enjoy your next book more.


  3. Hi Yvonne,
    I’m thrilled my post has sent people down memory lane- a wonderful place to take a wander down. It seems like The Water Babies holds wonderful memories for you. How sweet! I wish I had enjoyed the book more. I really wanted to. Thank you for your lovely comment!

  4. Pingback: Beth and Chrissi do Kid Lit – FEBRUARY READ -The Water Babies – Charles Kingsley « bibliobeth

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