Friday, 7 November 2008

Books for Keeps

Issue 173 of Books for Keeps (November 2008) is now out and jammed full of interesting articles and reviews. It starts with a piece by Jill Bennett on "noisy" picture books - not, as I first thought, books with sound effects, but stories with lots of repetition, rhyming and sounds for the children to make. This is intended to provide fun and enjoyment while also paying attention to phonics - all the books she refers to are either in Jordanhill Library already, or soon will be.

Philippa Pearce, author of one of my favourite childrens' books, Tom's midnight garden, died in December 2006, and a series of memorial lectures has been organised. The first was by writer and academic Victor Watson, and a shortened version is published here. He concentrates on Pearce's "word perfect" skills - "every word, every nuance, every detonation and connotation, the sound, shape and melody of every phrase and sentence were considered, tried out and sounded out, and finally approved by a profoundly self-critical and discriminating wordsmith."

In some of the regular features, the "Authorgraph" is about Ralph Steadman, Michael Rosen writes about the death of his father in his Laureate's Log and the "classic in short" is Judith Kerr's Mog, the forgetful cat. This is another favourite - as a cat-lover myself I appreciate the accuracy of Mog's generally loveable gormlessness, and admit to shedding a tear when she finally used up her nine lives in Goodbye Mog. The usual comprehensive, age-defined review pages are complemented this month by a section on ten of the best Christmas books.

Follow the links for Jordanhill Library holdings of books by Philippa Pearce and Judith Kerr.

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