over a century-and-a-half old, have bectme almost as much of a "classic" as Shakespeare himself. So it was inevitable and desirable that someone should bring up to date the writing of short synopses of Shakespeare's plays, to assist the young theatre-goer. This is the case in Twenty Tales from Shakespeare, by Irene Buckman (Methuen, 25s.).
Thirteen of the Tales the Lambs had also taken as their subject. It is perhaps indicative of the influence of the cinema, even with the Bard, that three out of the seven new ones are successful films, namely Henry V. Antony and Cleopatra and Richard Without a doubt, the earlier children can come genuinely to enjoy Shakespeare by seeing it in the theatre, the better, and the less chance that it will be spoiled by an unimaginative approach in the classroom. To this end, a new crisp and clear introduction is a good thing. The contemporary photographs from recent productions not only assist visually but
help to give it all a feeling of upto-date-ness.
I hope schools will not be tempted to stand by Lamb because it is a classic but will take advantage of this more modern appeal, which is, after all, what the Lambs had intended in their time.
If you are a really ambitious parent, determined to direct the offspring's path along the lines of the arts, to prepare him or her at a tender age for the tales from Shakespeare, then buy G. B. Kirtland's One Day in Elizabethan England (Macmillan, 9s. 6d.). The drawings are by Jerome Snyder. This ripping Elizabethan England will amuse those between the ages of 7 and 9. Though perhaps not intended for this purpose, the light line drawings are very apt for colouring by crayon or paint.
Ingenuity Some time ago there was a spate of Catholic books for children, now there are fewer but one to be mentioned is Martin de Porres, Saint of the New World, by Ellen Tarry (Burns and Oates, I 5s.). There is a universal love for this negro Dominican lay brother who was only proclaimed a saint as recently as May, 1962, although he lived in the 17th century. From 9 upwards.
Only the author's ingenuity can sometimes save the purely factual book for children from being dull but there are some subjects which in themselves are proof against any such possibility. In A Time for Sleep (World's Work, 10s. 6d.), Millicent Selsam has chosen just such a topic which in itself cannot fail.
It is one of a series of Simple Science Books and describes how
the animals rest. The pictures taken by Helen Ludwig are in tune with the author's intention and the whole thing is a great success. How does an OrangUlang. or a goldfish, or indeed a giraffe sleep? This book has the answer to these and many more. 6-10 year-olds.
Nicholas Stuart Gray burst upon the children's theatre bringing to life many of the tales from Fairyland in a way that children really love. Now in print he gives us the enchanting mystery of Muffler, the foupdling who was found as a baby in a hen's nest, and his friend the black cat Grimbold who takes him into the night world: Grimboid's Other World (Faber 18s.).
It is a long time since Rudyard Kipling's White Seal and somehow the popularity of the seat as a subject of children's books seems to have waned; deservedly it should be fully restored by Here Come the Seals by Alice E. Goody, with pictures by Garry Mackenzie (Macmillan, 12.s. 6d.).
After ale even in the Zoo. the seal gives us as much pleasure as any mammal or animal by his
playful antics. This is a partdocumentary story which never for a moment loses its fascination for the reader, whether it is for the Fur Seal or the Harp Seal.