The Song of Roland Smith
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The illustration on our cover is from the newly-published Robert Cormier novel Beyond the Chocolate War, (Gollancz, 0 575 03711 3, £7.95). The illustration is by Caroline Binch and shows in the centre Archie Costello, Assigner of the Vigils, holding the white ball which readers of The Chocolate War will remember as all important in deciding who undertakes the assignments that are required from certain unfortunate individuals. In this sequel new characters join him and the old return to play out Archie's last term at Trinity High. We are grateful to Gollancz for help in using this illustration.
Roland must write a poem for homework, a self-portrait. The result (Is it blank verse? Perhaps it is a dirge?) tells of the dullness of his existence, which he feels is in strong contrast to the life of his parents, off taking photographs of Mount Everest. The ensuing story involves a 'borrowed' puppy, a blind girl called Percy and, inevitably, awakening and happiness for Roland. It is a brisk but touching tale. A good read for able children of eight years or more with possibilities as a read aloud story.