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... the Men of the Northlands sit by their great log fires and they tell a tale…

By Dave Snowden  ·  December 26, 2012  ·  Christmas Blogs

At some stage this week, this series of posts on children's stories is going to have to come to an end.  Maybe New Years Eve.  The problem has been that books have called out from the dark hidden corners of my memory and the list of candidates is now simply too long to accommodate them all.  I'll aim to finish with a post listing not only those candidates who did not make it to the final list, but also ones that were excluded from the very start.

The title comes to from the opening lines of Noggin the Nog, one of the many great...

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the close and holy darkness

By Dave Snowden  ·  December 25, 2012  ·  Christmas Blogs

First published in the year of my birth, a year after the the poets tragic early death, Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales is classified as a prose work but it is more than that.  It contains many wonderful examples of Thomas's evocative phrasing.  When he sings (for all his poetry is a song, and so is his prose) about church bells we get: in the bat-black, snow-white belfries tugged by bishops and storks.  And they rang their tidings over the bandaged town, over the frozen foam of the power and ice-cream hills, over the...

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I’ll thcream and thcream ‘till I’m thick

By Dave Snowden  ·  December 24, 2012  ·  Christmas Blogs

It's Christmas Eve (in the western tradition) and I am afraid we are back in the Edwardian period again with the Just William books by Richmal Compton.  My route to these however, is not a conventional one.  The books were not on the approved list when I was growing up.  I suspect that my Mother's love of George Orwell meant that she followed his condemnation of the books,  When I read Orwell's collected letters, journalism and essays from cover to cover (Yes I did, all four volumes when I was 17 and I don't regret it) I came across...

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Eagles should soar

By Dave Snowden  ·  December 23, 2012  ·  Christmas Blogs

So far in this Christmas series I have been dealing with books published, or largely written between the two world wars.   Now I remain convinced that this was the golden period for Children's literature as posts over the next few days will confirm, however it is not the only period.   My own recollections are limited by my birth date, but I will probably finish this series with the books my children loved.  That said my daughter's top three are all from the interwar years and I have yet to check with my Son.  From the little list...

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There and back again

By Dave Snowden  ·  December 22, 2012  ·  Christmas Blogs

And so, in the third of this Christmas series on children's book we come to The Hobbit.  Published in 1937 so not strictly Edwardian, but from the same fertile interwar period that produced the first two books in this series, and I am not finished with it yet!   I'm writing this having returned from the film, but lets hold comments on Peter Jackson's effort for a bit.

As it happens I came to the Hobbit in my teenage years, after reading Lord of the Rings.  Science fiction and fantasy were not really on the approved list at home,...

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