AUTUMN. with its promise of long dark evenings, is an inspiration to publishers to pull the best plums out of the pie. tempting their newly immured public to many happy hours of reading. This October is no exception, and we open the book list with a cry of Vive La France!
The land which gives the adults Simcnon and his Maigret has something equally fine to offer the children—Paul /Jana and his Bobby Thiriet. That le ne sais quoi which Simenon brings to the background of his tales of French life and criminality are present here in M. Berna's The Clue of the Black Cat (Bodlcy Head, 13s. 6c1.). higher praise than which it is not possible to give!
Representing the other side of the Entente Cordiale is Mrs. L. M. Boston with a strange, unique, compelling novel An Enemy at Green Knoive (Faber, 15s.). We trust parents will not be unduly alarmed when it is described as a tale of diabolical possession!
This perhaps sums up too crudely a battle between good and evil, between two children and their beloved grandmother on the one side, happy tenants of the house of Green Knowc, and a forceful, unpleasant female visitor calling herself Dr. Powers, who is determined to get Green Knowe, not by fair means, hut by foul.
Who dares to call history boring when Jane Lane is writing it for us? Perhaps in future all history books will be written for children by famous authors. after the style of The Return of The King (Evans, 13s. 6d.). The King is Charles II, awl his life in exile, and at home plot and counterplot, provide material for an exciting novel.
Rat Trap Island is a mystery story set on the riverside, with plenty of messing about in boats as the story unfolds, and the author, P. M. Hubbard, includes some incidental information on river lore which will he enjoyed as much as the tale of a family of children trying to find out why Rat Trap Island is wired in like a fortress, and discover the horrible truth that the defences aren't only to keep people out, but to keep certain people in! (Cassell, 15s.)
Animal-lovers are catered for by Eileen Akester with Sarni (Gollancz, 135. 6d.) the story of a bush baby and his I0-year-old mistress Jane. A story it may be, but the incidents, both in Zanzibar and England, have the unmistakeable stamp of authenticity, and the publishers assure us that they are tn7fact true.
The same age group will enjoy Carnival in Paris by Natalie Savage Carlson (Blackie, 12s, 6d.) which tells of a family of carnival workers and their very unsuccessful little circus. Needless to say, there is a happy ending.
To all Catholics, indeed to all Christian. parents, 1 recommend A Thread of Gold, an anthology of poetry for the very young compiled by Eleanor Graham, lovingly illustrated by Margery Gill (Bodlcy Head, 21s.). '1 he book is religious in intention, though much of the poetry is not specifically religious.
As a little child turns gradually, and naturally, towards God, so does this book wander along in the same, inevitable direction, and the work of the compiler is, in this respective, more than usually creative.
If, despite all your pleadings, your son or daughter stilt wants to go on the stage, buy The Actor and his World by Dulcie Gray and Michael Denison (Ciollanez, I3s. 6d.). It won't put him or her off the stage, hut it will leave no I llusions.
A beautifully produced factual book, glowing with illustrations is Black ie's Know About The Armada by Henry Garnett (10s. (d.), and for facts galore there is a new edition of the Junior Pears Encyclopaedia (Pelham Books, 16s.). It is a book with a great appeal for boys.
Cassell Caravel Books have been praised in the CATHOLIC HERALD on previous occasions for the style of their production. These books pay the younger generation the compliment of believing that they are as able as anyone in distinguishing between the best and the not so good.
The two latest volumes are Joan of Arc by Jay Williams (21s.) and Exploration of Africa by Thomas Sterling (21s.). Many books have been written about the Maid of Orleans, including quite a number for younger age groups, even so this volume will be greatly welcome.
It is not only well written but beautifully illustrated by contemporary paintings, prints, and later works of art which make an excellent pictorial commentary on the extraordinary events that befell France at that time.