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EducationGuardian.co.uk | eG weekly | Passport to the world

Lindsey Fraser's Guardian Education selection is The Ultimate Book Guide edited by Daniel Hahn and Leonie Flynn

"This is an ambitious project - annotated recommendations of over 600 books for readers aged eight to 12. Each book is recommended by a named individual, many of them well-known writers in their own right. And each recommendation is accompanied by a series of related recommendations." LINDSEY FRASER

I haven't looked carefully enough at this book to give a considered view yet, but first impressions are that the huge number of contributors (mostly well-known authors and leading names in the children's books world) produce entries that vary enormously in their usefulness.
The entry (by one of the chief editors) for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is particularly vacuous: "... is a famous story... Oh, I didn't mention that besides being a very famous, classic story, it's also a pretty old story, written (and set) in the nineteenth century... this old, famous, classic book is also really, really good! Tom is a great hero... and Mark Twain is a very funny, lively writer..."
The tone of this suggests that the editors seriously imagine their primary audience is aged about 8 years old, whereas if there is any audience at all for a book of this kind it will be found amongst parents, teachers, librarians - all of whom are likely to find its exclamatory tone (about half the entries end with a shriek mark) annoyingly ingratiating.

I'm going to show it to my Book Group (7-11 yr olds) and will see what they think.

Polite enthusiasm, I would say, and a consensus that it would be a useful book to have in the school library [cos I'm always asking Mrs M. what I should read next]

I still think the Tom Sawyer entry is embarrassingly naff and, in my case, first impressions are notoriously difficult to override...

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on February 3, 2004 7:37 AM.

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