jacquelineb: (stark raving sane!)

The Book of Dragons by Roger Lancelyn Green, illustrations by Krystyna Turska, Puffin Paperback (1973)

Book of Dragons - Front Cover

Front cover of the Book of Dragons

Roger Lancelyn Green is more famous for his collections, similar to this one, of Greek myths, stories of Ancient Egypt, Robin Hood legends, and Arthurian tales. His work was not part of my childhood, but from what I have read, many children who grew up in the 60s and 70s recall these books with fondness.

I can see why this one perhaps does not have the same level of fame. Bringing together dragon stories and trying to present them with any cohesion is a difficult task. The very act of defining what a dragon is fiendishly complicated (more so with European dragons) and further difficulties arise deciding what stories to leave out because of the plethora of myths. Where does a collector being? By geographical location? By era? By type of myth i.e. similar thematic elements?

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Mirrored from jacquelinebrocker.esquinx.net.

jacquelineb: (beanstalk)

Mog in the Dark by Judith Kerr

Mog sat in the dark and thought dark thoughts.

It strikes me as interesting that one of my favourite books as when I wasn’t even 10 was published the year I was born (1983 – which additionally is when another favourite, So You Want To Be a Wizard, was also published – that’s coming later this month).

But that’s by the by.

Mog was a series of children’s books created by Judith Kerr. I had two when I was a child; Mog and the Baby and Mog in the Dark. The latter was always my favourite – I suspect to the chagrin of my mother, whose tastes has always run more to realism than my leanings towards the fantastical.

Basically, Mog is the family pet who has been left outside in the dark. Hence, Mog sits in the dark and things dark thoughts. Dark thoughts that involve giant mice and big birds with teeth, all out to get poor Mog who just wants to be inside with her people and her supper. As Mog’s imagination and sleepiness start to grow, we find ourselves in a world of Mousedogbird’s and Mog finding the ability to fly, until… she wakes up, and finally gets her supper.

It’s hard to know why exactly I loved this. I think it was partly in Mog flying, partly in her wild imagination that grew her prey into her own predators. I think also the way the words were placed on the page, how the words told the story. (It was intended for very young readers, and I think it has a vocab of only about 50 words.) The repetition and rythmn of it is something that has stayed with me, and on hearing it again recently, it brought back lovely warm feelings, not just of childhood comfort, but of an awakening imagination (which I’m now inflicting on all your poor sods. ;) )

Hearing? Well, if you have a bit of time, a lovely lady has read the book on this YouTube video. Radiohead fans might be especially interested…

And who else is writing for Nanolomo? Click to find out!

Mirrored from jacquelinebrocker.esquinx.net.

July 2015

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