In praise of George (and Eric)

Picture from here.

Things are slowly returning to some kind of order, with DS back in his own room and gradually sorting out his enormous collections of pet rocks, fossils and copies of New Scientist. Still finding life rather relentlessly hard work but that is probably the time of year. Opened the fridge just now and discovered a box of decapitated jelly babies – apparently it doesn’t work to set Ghoulish Gums into Hallowe’en party jelly (rigor mortis sets in). So the JB heads are going to be mounted on cocktail sticks as ghoulish decoration.

I have to go and pick up nine pumpkins today. Might need two trips.

Also, back at work this afternoon after the half-term break. Most of my clientele (I work in a primary school library) have very specific tastes. If they are girls, it has to have fairies, ponies or magic kittens on the cover. If male, spies, pirates or, best of all, Doctor Who. I am amazed that nobody has yet complained about the six year olds taking home “The Feast of the Drowned” just because a certain Time Lord is on the cover. I invested in the new BBC fact files and every one was immediately taken out with the exception of poor Captain Jack. The Slitheen, the Sycorax and the Daleks are favourites, which shows that the priorities of six year olds are different from those of older fans.

Anyway, I’ve been putting together a little collection of stepping-stone reads for children who need to be gently nudged onward from DW (though I’ve room to talk, I’ve read little else for months. I think the only non DW books I’ve managed to finish were a biography of Marie Antoinette purchased at Verseilles and 1599, A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare. Hmm, come to think of it, maybe there’s a little DW influence there too. I never wanted a biography of Agatha Christie for Christmas before).

There’s actually quite a bit out there – plenty of DW writers happily make the crossover to general children’s fiction, having never entirely abandoned their inner child. Justin Richards has come up with the Time Runners series – only two so far but more to follow, including one set on the Titanic – if they don’t get that in the shops by Xmas he should change his agent.  Nathan Fox deftly combines spies and Shakespeare, giving a young actor in Will’s theatre company a close-up view of the events of “Othello” (I like the idea of him inspiring further plays – Elsinore next, perhaps?) And in The H-Bomb Girl the leading British SF writer Stephen Baxter takes on a scenario just made for the Who fan. Set in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, against a background of the Merseybeat music scene, a teenage girl finds herself caught up in a plot to change the outcome, and end the world as we know it. Don’t be put off by the dull cover – it’s a riveting read.

Finally, just occasionally an overdose on Who makes you long for some real science – and here it is – the marvellous young astronaut’s guide to the universe penned by a very special father and daughter team. With Stephen Hawking as dad, you can’t go wrong. I wish this beautifully presented gem had been around when I was eight years old. George’s Secret Guide to the Universe – it’s even got a space pig in it! And is  it just me, or is there something a little familiar about Eric, the young beanpole of a Prof with his glasses, his supercomputer and his untamed, spiky hair?

Meanwhile, are there any good books for kids about the Titanic – I’m bound to get asked…….

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6 thoughts on “In praise of George (and Eric)

  1. I can’t think of any good books about the Titanic, but I did read a somewhat bad one about a young teenage boy who survived. It dealt with survivor’s guilt, sex, and puberty in the Edwardian age. There was hardly anything in it at all about the Titanic itself, just about how he was having “strange feelings for young women” etc. I wish I could remember the title, but if you’re looking, you’re bound to run across it.
    I’d love to get my hands on Hawking & Co’s book! I’m kind of a Stephen Hawking fangirl. Thanks for the information 🙂

  2. Nine pumpkins? Yikes. That’s a lot of carving. Hee!
    Thanks for that book rec. I’m pretty sure my youngest would love that since he is all about outer space.

  3. Yes, I have considered those, but we need to do another fundraiser before I’m allowed to buy more books. Thanks!
    (He’s also done an Atlantis novel that looks promising).

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