H.E.L.P. ¦ Crash!! ¦ The Noisiest Class in the School ¦ Chunka saves the Day
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There was a boy called Thomas Mead
Who never ever learned to read.
"l wish you would!" his teacher sighed
"Why should l?" Thomas Mead replied.
The Tale of Thomas Mead (Bodley Head 0 370 30357 1, £3.25, January 1981) which is a positive and hilarious answer to `Why should I?' Pat says, `I liked the idea because both my children found reading difficult.' We are delighted to have Thomas Mead on our cover and Pat Hutchins in the Authorgraph (p. 14). For more see the Editor's Page in this issue.
The Noisiest Class in the School
Illustrated by Joan Beales
Chunka saves the Day
Illustrated by Peter Dennis
I was very disappointed with the new Junior Hippos which are intended as easy readers. The idea of producing such a series is a good one but when measured against well established series like the Beginner Books and the I Can Reads these stories and illustrations just will not do.
H.E.L.P. presupposes that one starts reading from the back cover - at least that is what the reader must do to see the significance of those initials. The story of the quartet's attempts to find a missing cat seems to be merely a vehicle for a series of poorly illustrated slapstick situations. And the statutory two black faces are nothing short of insulting.
Crash!! left me speechless. The story - dog chases cat near roadworks, car and jam van crash, tar and jam everywhere - is told (partly in rhyme) in language which is no better than most reading schemes. The monosyllabic text is matched with illustrations which are its visual equivalent.
There is not story in The Noisiest Class in the School, just a number of incidents featuring a group of unruly children who seem - definitely - to have got the upper hand as far as their trendy teacher is concerned.
Chunka is an unexceptional story about how an abandoned traction engine comes to the rescue and joins the circus. But why the avoidance of contractions in the text? - " 'I shall be back,' said Chunka. 'Then I will tell you what it is like to be a circus engine!"' - is that natural language?