Apollo the Golden God
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On our cover this month we feature an illustration from The Swineherd, a picture book version of the Andersen fairy tale by artist Lisbeth Zwerger. (Neugebauer Press, 0 907234 127, £3.95 from A. and C. Black). We are grateful to A. and C. Black for help in using this illustration. The roundel used on the Hans Andersen pages is from the wood engraving by Gwen Raverat for Four Tales, translated by R. P. Keigwin, C.U.P. (1935). It and the Punch cartoon on page 16 appear in Brian Alderson's pamphlet Hans Christian Andersen and his Eventyr in England.
All the tales of Apollo put together in some sort of chronological order. This book was emphatically rejected by a variety of testers varying in age and ability across the middle school. The only praise was for the rather unusual black and white wash illustrations by Constantinos Coconis. These drawings are a strange cross between the symbolic art of ancient Greece and modern poster art. There are hints to the eerie and unpleasant about them which seemed to intrigue the children. The stories were originally told by Doris Gates to children at story-telling sessions in a Californian library. The telling rather than reading style remains; the tone implies group involvement, and testers found it difficult to become involved. One of a series about Greek myths: a slim, tempting volume which may serve better as a handbook for teachers and other tellers of tales rather than as an accessible text for young readers.