School; Pirates; Witches
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This issue’s cover shows Jane Simmons’ popular character, Daisy, and her baby brother Pip. Two Daisy books with their ‘dynamic yet affectionate pictures’ full of painterly exuberance are reviewed in this issue. Thanks to Orchard Books for their help in producing this May cover.
Excellent witchy sound effects introduce a cackling mixture of jokes, spells and hocus pocus all designed to help you speculate on whether your granny might be a witch. Liz Smith narrates in a suitably witchy but wholly unscary voice while additional voices add a rounded, dramatised effect. The traditional and familiar jokes are pleasingly homely.
Unlike Witches, the jokes in School are not familiar to contemporary children as they come from an old school-story tradition of inky swots, stinkers and sneaks. That is not to say that such characters do not exist in schools today but their style is markedly different. School creaks along from one hoary chestnut to another with stereotypical children, teachers and situations.
Everything you need to know to become a pirate (which is everything you already know about being a pirate) is cheerfully related in Pirates by Adrian Edmondson and his jolly crew. Like Witches, a terrific atmosphere is created by the background music, and especially by the creaking timbers of the ship which provide a soothing backdrop. Life aboard sounds hairy and scary and certainly not for the faint-hearted. Good traditional stuff told with a tongue-in-cheek touch.