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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.
Do witches still have any attraction for youngsters today? Are the eighties' generation too sophisticated in their demand for video horrors to appreciate the 'spookiness' of Hallowe'en? I doubt whether this collection of poems will stop the rot or induce many to take up the editors' invitation to 'happy scary reading'. I found it difficult to determine at what age group the poems are aimed, with their alarming mix of Shakespeare, Coleridge, de la Mare, Herrick, diluted by a throw-away from Ted Hughes. Several 'Unknowns' further cloud the issue, with the help of some obscurantism from Dylan Thomas. The only relevant relief I could find came in the form of Kitching, Milligan and Roy Fuller, whose selected contributions are first class for young children. Puzzling.