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December 05, 2003

Children's Books

In one of those weird coincidences that happens, I was reading Teresa's post on Mary Sues, and a comment mentioned Peter's Room by Antonia Forest, a favourite author of mine who I haven't read for some years. Her books tell tales of the Marlow family. Four of them are school stories; these ones were reprinted by Puffin and are relatively easy to get hold of. The rest, apart from two historicals, are set in the holidays, and I have some but not all of them. I wondered vaguely if any the difficult ones were back in print, which led me to the web pages of Girls Gone By Publishers, a small press who specialises in reprinting the impossible to get books in series of school stories. They have negotiated with Faber to reprint all of Antonia Forest's work, and are doing so in reverse order of availability. But when I looked at their list of available books, I discovered that Antonia Forest has just died; her funeral is next Thursday. She was 88; her stories were published over 35 years, during which time the Marlows aged about four years. I guess we'll never know how their story turns out.

Meanwhile, Marianne is devouring a very favourite children's book of lots of other people. I didn't read Erik Linklater'sThe Wind on the Moon when I was a child, but after several friends raved about it recently, I bought a copy. It's not really to my adult taste, but it's clearly a book that would be a favourite if I had read it at the right time. There are a few of these; I sorely regret that I never read I Capture the Castle when I was a misunderstood teenager, for example. Meanwhile, Marianne got home from school in a bit of a funk, stomped into my room to see if there was anything she could break, found The Wind on the Moon and has been reading ever since.

Jonathan 'reads' books by following the words with his finger while reciting. After we took Marianne to school this morning, we walked home, and passed a man building a fence, a skip lorry dropping off a skip, and a man painting white lines on the road. Jonathan chased a pigeon, counted house numbers, walked along the top of the wall by the playground, and waited at the railway bridge until a train came. Partway through I started taking photos, and Jonathan's Book is now an exclusive 16-page limited edition. A small joy of the modern age.

Posted by Alison at December 5, 2003 06:53 PM


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