Gita and Goldie; Timmy and Tiger
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This issue’s cover is from The Hutchinson Treasury of Children’s Poetry (cover illustration by Peter Weevers). Edited by Alison Sage (who also edited The Hutchinson Treasury of Children’s Literature), this sumptuous anthology is loosely divided into four sections corresponding to age starting with nursery rhymes and first poems through to poems for older children and classic poetry. Poems from such modern poets as Roger McGough, Ted Hughes, Wendy Cope and Maya Angelou sit alongside poems by Longfellow, Robert Louis Stevenson, Shelley and Shakespeare. The anthology is illustrated in full colour and black and white. Newly commissioned illustrations from, for example, Quentin Blake, Shirley Hughes and Nicola Bayley are included alongside illustrations by Randolph Caldecott, Jessie Willcox Smith and Kate Greenaway. With such a comprehensive range of poems for 2-11 year olds and upwards, this is a wonderful family book.
Bloomsbury's second mini-series 'Best Pets', aimed at the same market as 'Crazy Gang', is more successful and less stilted, though 5-year-olds capable of reading them must be few and far between. The stories contain believable characters with whom young children can empathise. Concepts such as loyalty, trust and friendship are explored at an appropriate comforting level and through the focus of the theme 'Pets'.
In Timmy and Tiger a small boy befriends a lost kitten and eventually persuades his mum that they should keep him after-Tiger alerts the family to the smoke filtering up from a fire that has taken hold downstairs.
Gita and Goldie sees sisters Gita and Manveer arguing over where their pet dog Goldie will sleep when they move to a bigger house. When Goldie chooses to sleep in Manveer's room, Gita storms off in disgust and gets lost in nearby woods, triggering off a search which inevitably ends with Goldie leading her family successfully to a frightened Gita.
The two books are sadly let down by very immature and rather lazy full and half page black and white illustrations that do nothing to add charm to the stories. The lack of perspective in Gita and Goldie is particularly irritating.