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Posts Tagged ‘The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes’

Among the possessions Jane Austen passed down after her death is a miniature book for children, The History of Goody Little Two-Shoes, whose pages were filled with moral lessons for children. During the 18th century, it was regarded as one of the most popular children’s books, and its popularity lasted into the 19th century. As you can see in the image below, Jane’s copy of the book is bound with gilt and and flowered Dutch paper boards. The frontispiece is crudely colored; the front page is inscribed with the name, ‘Jane Austen.’

Jane Austen's copy of Little Goody Two Shoes. Image @Jane Austen em Portugues

The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes was an early book for children that had a huge influence on the way that children were taught to read, from its publication in 1765 until the mid 19th century. Although its sententiousness and overbearing morality might cause hilarity today, it was in several ways a revolutionary publication in its time. – Read the rest of the passage in this link 


The History of Little Goody Two Shoes taught a moral lesson: Good behavior on earth will bring heavenly rewards.

In it, a young orphaned girl called Miss Margery Meanwell is so poor she only has half a pair of shoes. When a friend gives her an actual pair of shoes as a gift, she becomes known to the other children as Little Goody Two Shoes. Little Margery becomes not only a mentor and tutor to the children, she grows up to become a wise teacher, helping adults learn peaceful techniques for resolving quarreling and promoting tolerance. Through her acts of charity and benevolence, Miss Margery is carried from her humble station in life and becomes a lady of means. – Shoes are more than just fashion accessories 

The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes was originally published in 1765.  The text is typically attributed either to John Newbery or Oliver Goldsmith, and the illustrations by “Michael Angelo” were most likely by Richard Johnson, who used the pseudonym as author of Juvenile Sports and Pastimes, published by Newbery’s stepson Thomas Carnan. – The History of Goody Two Shoes, Rare Book Room

Image @Wikipedia

The phrase  “goody two-shoes” is often used to describe an excessively virtuous person. (Wikipedia)

Image from a digital version of the book. This image is more refined than the one in Jane Austen's miniature book

Listen to a History of Little Goody Two Shoes: Podcast 

Image from a digital version of the book

Some of the reading exercises for children are evident on these two pages.

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