The Friends' Racing Cart ¦ Get Along Old Trapper
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Through star filled skies on Christmas Eve Kay Harker, in a sleigh pulled by eight unicorns and driven by Herne the Hunter, returns in triumph to Tatchester. The illustration on the cover of this issue of BfK is by Faith Jaques and is taken from The Box of Delights, a newly illustrated edition of John Masefield's classic children's book, abridged by Patricia Crampton and published by Heinemann, 0 434 95052 1, £7.95. A paperback edition (without colour plates) is available from Fontana Lion (0 00 572415 9, £1.50). We are grateful to Heinemann and Fontana for help in using this illustration.
Get Along Old Trapper
Here are two new titles in the deservedly successful and now firmly established Pocket Bear series - a series which I find my seven and eight year old readers actively seek out from the classroom shelves. The Friends' Racing Cart is the author's second book to feature Fat Percy, Charlie Cockerel and Johnny Mouse, the inhabitants of Mud Pie Farm, whom we first met in Friends. When Johnny Mouse discovers an old cart and insists in riding it alone, he quickly finds himself in a heap of trouble; but thanks to his friends and their finds, he and the cart are soon fully restored. The delectable paintings are the strongest feature of this book.
Get Along Old Trapper will appeal to Wild West fans, in particular, older, less competent readers. Tracker Jack tells his own story about his map-making expedition through The Wild, using few words and typical cowboy style language - 'Howdy children', 'No siree', and 'son of a gun' for instance. Just how successful his expedition was can be judged from the final pages of the book on which we see the fruit of all his labours - the map. Gammell's paintings, particularly the landscape scenes, strongly evoke the loneliness and wildness of the desert setting.