Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Animal Family by Randall Jarrell.

I've made a few false starts on this blog post. The Animal Family is hard to describe without feeling I am not doing it justice. Its a different read. And its a definite read aloud. A story about a hunter, a mermaid, a bear, a lynx and a little boy, it is quite simply very, very beautiful. I know this isn't a word that tempts most kids to a book but I will say that when I read this aloud, over three night, my three youngest(four, nine, eleven) were silent. The book was on the shelf since last Christmas and none of them were tempted to try it themselves so I wasn't expecting that at all. And even though it does have great reviews, neither did I expect it to be so beautifully written. Often, when I read aloud, my voice gets tired, even with "good" books. But with this, it just didn't.

I was about thirty pages in when I read the reviews on the back dust cover and wasn't expecting to see one by P.L. Travers. I had assumed the book was written in the seventies or eighties but no, it was 1965 and the author of Mary Poppins must have worked at the New York Time Book Review at the time. She loved it too.

It has only "decorations" (by Maurice Sendak) rather than illustrations so the beauty is almost all in the story and language (and actually, the hardback cover. See below.)
But its a beauty that will lend a lovely glow to any bedtime. For ages four to adult.

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