|Rapple, Brendan A. "Charles Kingsley," in Dictionary
of Literary Biography, Volume 163: British Children's Writers, 1800-1880.
Edited by Meena Khorana (Detroit: Gale 1996): 136-147.
Following the usual format of the DLB, a bibliography of Kingsley’s own works is followed by an account of his life interspersed with an analysis of his writings, in this case his works for children. A short secondary bibliography is appended. Several illustrations are also provided. Rapple’s assessment: “Tastes change, and it is not surprising that modern children eschew works intended for their Victorian ancestors. The Heroes has been supplanted by other retellings of the Greek tales; the science of Glaucus and Madam How and Lady Why no longer has appeal, and today's youth would reject the books’ pervasive social commentary, sermonizing, and didacticism. Nor is Westward Ho! read much by present-day youngsters, though it is still available in a children's edition. The significant exception has been the consistently high readership, especially in the United Kingdom, for The Water-Babies, of which there are probably more editions, adaptations, and abridgements in print today than in Kingsley's own time. The work’s simplicity, brilliant fantasy, and affection for the young, despite its frequent preaching, still capture the devotion of children. It is The Water-Babies, though its author would never have foretold it, that will ensure Kingsley a high rank in the history of children's literature” (146).