Page 6, 26th October 1979

26th October 1979
Page 6
Page 6, 26th October 1979 — Children's Bookshelf

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Stories from Rainbow (Collins, £2.95).

IF YOU have a child aged between three and six — or slightly older or younger for that matter — you will know all about Rainbow. It is the Thames Television programme which has been tailored to the preferences of children in this age group. That it has been running since 1972 is perhaps sufficient indication of its popularity, both with the children and with their parents.

The favourite moment in the programme arrives .with the opening of Rainbow's own story book. The producers say that they receive more than a hundred letters a week, many of which ask whether it is possible to obtain a copy of the book.

Collins have now produced a book with some of the favourite Rainbow stories. accompanied by the original illustrations seen on the programme. Every page is lavishly illustrated in colour.

The stories are just the right length for bedtime — and every child knows that, no matter how interesting a story told on television may be, a story told by your Own mother or father is ten times as spell-binding.

This book can be thoroughly recommended for this age group. picture the Ide that went cm when what is now a crumbling ruin was busy with men and women who might well have been one's own ancestors?

In this lavishly illustrated book Shell Sancha brings the reality of existence in those far-off — and yet so near — medieval days.

She traces the history of castle buidling from the earliest fortifications of primitive man to the hey day of English milirary architecture in the days of Edward; then through the gradual decline .of the importance of castles from a strategic point of view.

She gives vivid glimpses of how things really were for the occupants and servants, the soldics, the kings and the men of power.

Her photographs are embellished with outline drawings to complete what has been eaten away by time from the fabric of the buildings. She does not hesitate to add ballooned comments of explanation and even puts medieval people going about their ordinary business in the context of the modern camera shot.

This is at first sight a startling technique, but it helps as nothing else could to bring her subject alive. Although I suspect that this Is primarily designed as a children's book there are few adults interested in our past who could resist its charm. BOTFI these paperbacks are collections of short stories edited by Barbara Ireson. They are certainly eerie in content, though rather surprisingly uneven in quality. I found the second selection better chosen than the first.

That having been said, I well remember being the sort of child who adored this type of story, and am quite sure that.' was not too bothered about the quality of the writing if the plot was spooky enough. Children will doubtless lap them all up.

Maureen Vincent

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