The Children's Stories

of Edith Patch

Edith Patch remembered a day from her childhood at her country school in Minneapolis, Minnesota, when a kindergarten teacher gave her a story about a cabbage “worm” that turned into a beautiful butterfly. The little girl was enraged, for she knew that the “worm” was actually a caterpillar, and that it would turn into a modest little white butterfly, not a gorgeously colored one. Even worse, the story was illustrated with a picture of the Cecropia moth, a night insect. At that moment, Edith Patch said to herself, “When I grow up, I will write stories about outdoor things for children and they shall be true stories.”

Edith Patch kept her resolve. She published her first two books herself through the Pine Cone Press of Orono – Dame Bug and her Babies in 1913 and How Laddie Tells the Time o’Year in 1914. She began contributing articles and stories to periodicals in 1915. Later the Atlantic Monthly Press and the Macmillan Publishing Company would bring out her books. She wrote or co-wrote 18 books and wrote over 100 stories or articles for children during the course of her publishing career.

She believed that children who look closely and make careful observations of the natural world will see marvels, undertake adventures, and uncover mysteries. Patch invited her young readers to join her in her delight of the world around them. The familiar countryside surrounding her home “Braeside,” with its meadows and hills, became the prototype for the fictional settings of her “Holiday” series.

Contributed by Nancy MacKnight

From The Patch Sampler