By Clare Simon THE LITTLE. BOOK ROOM, by Eleanor Farjeon tOsford University Press, I2s, 6d.). THIS is definitely not for addicts of horror comics or television. It is one of those fat, solid collections of stories such as one remembers finding in bookshelves in other people's nurseries. Little Johnny Moon, whose greatest dream was to post a penny in a slot machine in a station and get a bar of chocolate; the Queen who ordered a sentry to guard her favourite flower.
They are all told in the " Once upon a time " way and they are for all ages. It is proof of Eleanor Farjeon's timeless gift for story-telling that once begun, no matter how blase one considers oneself. it is oddly difficult to put them down.
TINKER ROY, by Patricia Lynch (Dent, 10s. 6d.).
HERE is another book by a very well-known writer for children, and grown-ups read her, too. This is a story about Irish tinkers, about Daru MacDara, the tinker boy who makes friends with Tessa the town girl. Tinkers in Ireland are a sort of mixture of gypsy and tramp in habit, but with a special quality all their own, and it is this quality of fairy charm and sensitivity that Miss Lynch has captured so well in her writing. She is a natural poet who is not ashamed to write for the audience that is, perhaps, the most capable of appreciating poetry without that self-consciousness about the whole thing that most of us acquire as we grow up.
BANNER IN THE SKY, by James Ramsey Ullman (Collins, 10s. 6d.)
MR. ULLMAN, while using the details from an actual climbing of the Matterhorn, tells of the efforts of Rudi Matt, a disobedient and selfish Swiss boy, to conquer the mountain on which his father had been killed.
It makes an exciting adventure story, the pace of which is only occasionally held up by too much technical detail. In a magnificent climax Rudi Matt achieves his ambition and finally wins the heart of the reader.
THE BOYS' BOOK OF SECRET AGENTS, by Lieut.-Col. Oreste Pinto (Cassell, 8s. 6d.)
THE name of Col. Pinto. the war-time spy and spy-catcher, is sure to attract many to this book; and they won't be disappointed. It gives an admirable idea of secret agents and their work, all
told with many fascinating illustrations drawn from the Colonel's experiences. It even concludes with a chapter helping the reader to decide whether he personally has the qualities to make him a suuccessful spy. Sane youthful reader felt that the book deserved a more arresting title.
THE NEW NOAH, by Gerald Durrell (Collins, 10s. 6d.)
AFASCINATING book in which the author tells of his adventures in search of wild animals for British zoos. He takes us to the Cameroons, British Guiana and Paraguay, and those who have read Mr. Durrell's previous books will know how pleasantly he tells of these countries and of the problems presented by the capturing of animals. The book was judged by a boy of 12, who is an animal lover, to he one of the best he has read.
TIlE RIVER BOY, by Theresa Whistler (Rupert Hart Davis, I 2s. 6c1.)
THIS is the story of a boy who meets his own reflection and explores with him the countryside of an enchanted river.
This is a book adults will buy so that they may have the chance to read it aloud to their children, although children between 10 and 12 will enjoy reading it for themselves. In its beauty this story reminds of Oscar Wilde's fairy stories.
Lovable donkeys speak with a " donkey-eye " view of the great Christmas story in " Just Donkeys," by Margaret Morrison (Hutchinson, 8s. 6d.). This shepherd is one of many line drawings.
MODERN FAIRY STORIES, edited by R. L. Green and illustrated by E. H. Shepard (Dent. Its. 6d.)
THESE arc original fairy stories of 13 authors of modern times: among them are Lewis Carroll, Kenneth Grahame. Rudyard Kipling, Catherine Sinclair and Oscar Wilde.
NEW FOREST QUEST, by Stephen Mogridge (Nelson. 6s. 6d.)
AGAINST a background of ponies, water and the underwater develops a quest begun with a little old book picked up at a
sale, An exciting adventure story for schoolchildren.
SECRETS OF THE WOOD, by Ursula Moray Williams (Harrap, 6s. 6d.)
TWO little boys become interested in birds and their habits and they try to defend " their wood " and its inhabitants against marauding gangs of destructive children. For eightto eleven-year-olds.
THE BORROWERS AFIELD, by Mary Norton, illustrated by Diana Stanley (Dent, 10s. 6d.) THE borrowers, " a race of tiny creatures, as like to humans as makes not matter, who live their secret lives under the floors and behind the wainscots of certain quiet old houses." What happened to Pod and Homily and Arietty after the terrible moment when Mrs. Driver wrenched back the floor board 7
A wholly successful book for children of all ages.
TWO'S COMPANY, by Racey Helps (Collins, 3s. 6d.)
FORFOR the very, very young. This can stand on a shelf with Beatrix Potter.
SUNDAY DISPATCH ANIMAL BOOK, edited by George Beal (Associated Newspapers, 8s. 6d.)
CHILDREN love animals and they will love this book-and learn from it. With its profusion of photographs, varying from a Guinea baboon to an African elephant, this provides for a home tour of the zoo.
THE SONG OF LAMBERT, by 71VIcaz600de la Roche (Macmillan, " LAMBERT was a lamb. He was not only a very pretty lamb but he was different from every other lamb in all the world because he could sing."
So start this most charming of all children's books, delightfully illustrated by Eileen Soper. Delicate and amusing.
JONATHAN AND FELICITY, by Mary Cockett (Harrap, 4s. 6d.)
ANEW addition to the " Reading with Mother " Series. An -excellent little book for the very young, and at a most reasonable price
FRENCH LEGENDS, TALES AND FAIRY STORIES. by Barbara Leonie Picard (Oxford University Press, 12s. 6d.).
IT is a good lime to publish this latest volume in the Myths and Legend series and so enable both parents and children to choose this as a must " for Christmas.
The filth volume in this series fully maintains the very high standard of the earlier books and perhaps the stories even improve. be. ing less familiar to many readers.
Joan Kiddell Monroe has once again illustrated these tales admirably THREEPENNY BIT, by Jane Shaw (Nelson, 6s. 6d.)
AN eccentric godfather sends Penny two old coins and thus starts her off as an enthusiastic coin-collector. No one suspected the positive mania of coins, and other things, which was to follow. A good book for the younger schoolgifl.
BACKING UP BILLY BUNTER, Frank Richards (Cassell, 7s. 6d.).
BILLY BUNTER has become even more familiar in recent years through his appearance on the family television screen. No doubt many boys will already have earmarked the latest volume on
their Christmas lists. O.H.
Here are 8 More • •
AGOOD historical tale-and the more romantic the better -is always acceptable to the younger reader. David Scott Daniell's " The Dragon and the Rose" (Cape, 9s. 6d.) is the story of Carlo and Fiorella, prince, unknown to himself, and princess, set in Renaissance Florence. Mother Abbess turns out to he the fairy godmother.
Forty years in the deer forests have enabled H. Mortimer Batten to tell the story of the deer Carrie in " The Singing Forest " (Blackwood, Its. 6d.) with real knowledge of the ways of deer and the particular charm which these beautiful creatures always suggest. It is finely illustrated. Ghosts, witches, magic and mysteries are " More Than You Bargained For " (Cape, 9s. 6d.) in Joan Aiken's stories, which also include such matter-of-fact realities as football pools, flag-sellers and all the oddities of life. A charming and amusing book. How to keep your family amused-not to mention the party guests-is the theme of " Fun with the Family." by Eileen Elias (Hutchinson, 10s. 6d.). This is much more than the " fun and games " type of book, but a mine of general and educational information. Recommended.
Slipping about in time is the novelty and trick of " Sun Slower. Sun Faster," by Meriol Trevor (Collins, 10s. 6d.). with the result that the reader in his entertainment learns the easy, vivid way. and in one part of this book he will learn quite a lot about the persecution of Catholics after the Reformation.
For the younger child who likes new rhymes and new pictures there is " Stirabout Lane." by John D. Sheridan (Dent, 6s.). The nursery will enjoy this.
Rathbone Books have produced an admirable " Man Must Measure-The Wonderful World of Mathematics." by Lancelot Hogben (15s.), illustrating in large format and coloured pictures the romance of its development with a clean and accurate text. As usual the Daily Mail brings out its " Boys, Girls and Teddy Tail Annuals." the first two 7s. 6d. and the last 5s„ each of which is likely to he a first choice for the appropriate children.