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Tom Playfair is one of 'Fr. Finn's Famous Three"- Percy Wynn and Harry Dee. These were the most popular of Fr. Finn's 27 Catholic novels for young people. Resembling a Catholic version of Charles Dickens' stories, or even The Hardy Boys, these books were read by hundreds of thousands of young people in the late 19th and early-to-mid 20th century. Their quaint turn-of-the-century language is part of the charm of the stories and of Fr Francis J. Finn's own brand of humor. After young 1859-1928 readers (or hearers) have "gotten into" his style, they find it hilarious! But besides being fun, the stories have a moral: Tom Playfair is an unruly little boy when he is sent to St. Maure's boarding school, but he develops into a good Catholic young man and leader-without ever losing his high spirits. (All 3 books feature Tom Playfair.
But what about today's young people? We were given great encouragement to reprint these books by the experience of a teaching Sister who reads all 3 books each year to her 5th and 6th graders-with very gratifying results. Sister says she has seen drastic changes in students after hearing Fr. Finn's stories-marked improvement in behavior, motivation and character, especially in boys. Though both boys and girls enjoy the books immensely, she says, "It's the boys that absolutely love them. It's a hero worship thing." And parents ask: "Who's this Tom Playfair?-because that's all the kids talk about at the dinner table on Monday nights."